Reinforcing the belief among Evergreen State gun owners, the billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility—the Seattle-based gun control advocacy group—has released its 2023 legislative agenda and it is quite a wish list, including another effort to repeal the state’s long-standing and court-enforced firearms preemption law.
The Alliance wants to ban semiautomatic rifles—erroneously described as “semi-automatic assault weapons,” a sweeping definition that applies to all semi-auto rifles, regardless of caliber—and require permits to purchase firearms. This follows Oregon’s currently-challenged attempt to require permits to exercise a constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.
Oregon voters adopted Measure 114 in November, but it has already drawn four federal and one state lawsuit. A Circuit Judge this week placed a hold on the law’s effective date pending a court hearing.
The gun control group also wants to make it impossible to legally carry licensed, concealed firearms for personal protection in “more public spaces to help reduce the risk of political violence by firearm.” Additionally, the gun prohibition group wants to repeal Washington’s 38-year-old model firearms preemption law which has been in place since 1985 and has served as a model for other state’s preemption statutes.
In their release, the Alliance claims the “semi-automatic assault weapons…were designed for the battlefield (and) they have no place in our neighborhoods.”
According to the Daily Olympian, “Washington state law defines a semi-automatic assault rifle as ‘any rifle which uses a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.’”
But this definition applies to .22-caliber hunting and sporting rifles, and also applies to such popular big game hunting rifles as the Remington 7400, Browning BAR, and Winchester 100, plus the classic Winchester Model 1907. Popular rimfire rifles including the Ruger 10/22, Remington Nylon 66 and Browning SA-22, one of the earliest self-loading .22-caliber rifles ever manufactured.
The Daily Olympian said Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson—both Democrats—will request the gun ban legislation.
According to a report at Crosscut, State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) is opposed to such gun control measures, criticizing “All of this, it’s the chip-chip-chip away of that foundational right to protect yourself.”
What gun ban advocates have not discussed is how the violent crime and murder rates in Washington have increased, rather than declined, since they started pushing restrictive gun control laws either in the legislature or by citizen initiative. Here are the numbers, according to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report.
In 2014, anti-gunners pushed through Initiative 594 with a $10 million campaign The measure mandated “universal background checks” with exemptions for family members. In 2018, the gun control lobby also pushed through initiative 1639, which prohibits young adults from purchasing semi-auto rifles, requires adult purchasers to provide proof of completing a safety course and invented the “semiautomatic assault rifle” definition. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said this is a gun that does not exist.
In 2015, the first full year I-594 was in effect, Washington reported 209 homicides including 141 committed with firearms. Last year, according to FBI data, with both anti-gun initiatives in force, Washington logged 325 murders, including 209 involving guns.
In 2015, Seattle adopted a gun and ammunition tax ro fund an “anti-violence” effort. In 2016, the city posted 19 murders, according to Seattle police data. Last year, Seattle saw 43 homicides, and already this year, 54 people have been murdered, according to the Seattle Homicide Twitter page (not associated with the Seattle police).
2022 YTD Total: 54
2022 Fatal Police Shootings: 3
2021 Total: 42
2021 Fatal Police Shootings: 2
10 Year Average: 28.8
Record High: 69 in 1994
— Seattle Homicide (@HomicideSeattle) November 8, 2022
The Alliance says Washington State “has the 39th highest rate of gun violence in the United States,” which makes it 11th from the bottom.
The Alliance also claims “More people are killed by guns than die in car accidents in Washington,” but according to a Sept. 13 article in the Seattle Times, in 2021—the year in which the FBI says there were 209 murders involving guns—there were 643 traffic fatalities, an 18 percent increase over 2020.
The gun control lobby includes suicides in their “gun violence” figures, although one involves a criminal act and the other is an emotional act of personal harm. Washington, since adoption of the “Death with Dignity Act” in 2009, has allowed physician-assisted suicide for terminally-ill individuals.
According to the Washington Department of Licensing, there are more than 698,000 active concealed pistol licenses in the state. The data pattern this year suggests the number will surpass 700,000 by year’s end.