Buried in a 698-word gun control Op-Ed appearing in the Seattle Times is a carefully-worded pitch for electing anti-gunners in November.
“As we’ve made clear,” insist co-authors Renee Hopkins and Margaret Heldring, “so much meaningful action relies on our elected officials, which means it is essential that we vote to support candidates who will prioritize action to address the gun violence epidemic. We need champions at every level of government, not just in Congress, who will stand up to the gun lobby.”
Hopkins is head of the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group responsible for pushing through two restrictive anti-gun-rights citizen initiatives since 2014. Heldring is founder and co-chair of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.
By no small coincidence, this Op-Ed—which is garnering some interesting criticisms—appears about ten days after publication of a column in GUNS Magazine cautioning readers about so-called “gun sense candidates” leading up to the Nov. 8 midterms.
In their Times Op-Ed, Hopkins and Heldring identify themselves as “leaders in the gun violence prevention movement in Washington state.” Considering how the number of murders annually in the state have gone up, rather than down, since passage of Initiative 594 in 2014, adoption of a gun and ammunition tax in Seattle in 2015, and passage of Initiative 1639 in 2018, their scorecard is left wanting.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports from 2015 (the first full year following passage of I-594) through 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, homicides in Washington climbed from 209 in 2015 to 298 in 2020. In 2015, data says 141 of those slayings involved firearms while in 2020, the number involving guns was 177.
According to Seattle Police data, there were 19 homicides in 2016, the first full year when the gun/ammunition tax was enforced. Last year, the city suffered 43 homicides, down from the 53 logged in 2020. Already this year, there have been 27 homicides in the city, and with almost four full months to go, the trend is not looking good.
The authors contend arming school teachers and administrators is also a bad idea, declaring, “armed civilians are almost never successful at stopping shootings.” Perhaps it depends upon whether there is an armed citizen present at the scene of a shooting. At last three cases so far this year suggest when there is a “good guy with a gun,” the dynamic can change dramatically.
- Greenwood Mall, Indiana: A gunman identified as Douglas Sapirman opens fire, fatally wounding three people before legally-armed Elisjsha Dicken draws his Glock pistol and stops the incident, killing Sapirman.
- Charleston, West Virginia: A man identified as Dennis Butler opens fire on a birthday party group of about 40 people. An armed woman drew her legally-carried pistol and fatally shot Butler. Police credited her with possibly preventing a mass shooting.
- Surprise, Arizona: A July 3 party erupted in gunshots apparently fired by a neighbor. Raul Mendez was attending the gathering with his wife and children. He suffered a head wound, but managed to draw his legally-carried pistol and shot the suspect four times.
In their Op-Ed, Hopkins and Heldring contend, “Congress must also reinstate the federal assault weapons ban. A federal prohibition on military-style semi-automatic assault rifles will reduce the scope of gun violence and prevent injuries and deaths.”
To accomplish this, anti-gunners must retain control of Capitol Hill, which means the gun prohibition lobby—called that by the Second Amendment community because these groups are pushing for an outright ban on a whole class of firearms—is crusading for politicians as “gun safety” or “gun sense” candidates, who coincidentally are overwhelmingly members of one party.
Ammoland News is reporting on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2022 Congressional Report Card, a six-page grade chart on which nearly all Democrats have earned an “F” while Republicans have largely earned A+ to C grades. The report card stressed, “Grades are meant to analyze the level of support of each lawmaker during the 117th Congress and do not constitute an endorsement or opposition to a candidate’s election.”
Still, for gun rights activists, this report card does provide some guidance likely to come in handy between now and Nov. 8.