Another law enforcement group has come out swinging against gun control Initiative 1639 as a new Gallup survey reveals that a majority of Americans now oppose a ban on so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles,” which are the target of the 30-page measure.
Almost simultaneously, the first hard-hitting radio advertisement blasting the billionaire-backed initiative has started airing. Sponsored by Washingtonians and the National Rifle Assn. for Freedom, 2018, the advertisement may be heard here.
The Cowlitz County Deputies and Sergeant’s Guild declared in a statement that they “strongly oppose Initiative I-1639.”
“Peace Officers’ organizations in the State of Washington recognize the extreme nature of I-1639,” the Guild stated. “It is an initiative that violates the State and Federal Constitutions, violates Supreme Court cases that have upheld and reaffirmed the protection of the inherent Right of firearms ownership, and discriminates against individual firearms owners.”
This reflects arguments against the measure made by Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, in Tuesday’s Seattle Times.
Gallup, meanwhile, reported that 57 percent of Americans now oppose a ban on semi-auto rifles that have been labeled “assault weapons” by the gun prohibition lobby. It’s a full reversal of where Americans were in 1996 when Gallup first asked the question. At that time, 57 percent supported a ban and 42 percent opposed, but today, only 40 percent support such a ban against a growing number of people against it.
Banning ownership of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” by young adults aged 18-20 is at the heart of the gun control initiative. It would still allow those over age 21 to buy semi-autos, but they would be registered, the buyers would have to show proof of gun training within the previous five years, and they would have to endure a so-called “enhanced background check” that includes waiving medical privacy in order to exercise Second Amendment rights, critics contend.
At least four state newspapers have encouraged their readers to reject I-1639, and there is a growing grassroots movement working almost under the radar to defeat it. But opposition from law enforcement groups—five now to also include the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association (WSPTA), Washington State Sheriffs Association (WSSA), Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA)—is not good news for gun control proponents. After all, when rank-and-file law enforcement opposes a measure that is ostensibly aimed at preventing violent crime, that signals something is significantly wrong with the proposal. Voters pick up on that.
They will be reminded by the contents of the radio ad, which reminds listeners that the response time by police “in some Seattle neighborhoods” to a 911 call can be 18 minutes. In some rural areas of King County, or any other county in the state, it can be a lot longer than that. For someone whose home is being invaded by a burglar, rapist or possible killer, 18 minutes is an eternity. Under I-1639, say critics, people would have to lock up their guns, thus rendering them useless for self-defense in the event of home invasion.
Recently, former Congresswoman-turned-gun-control-advocate Gabby Giffords was in Washington touting the initiative. If it passes next month, it could become a model for similar measures in other states, according to Giffords’ husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, as quoted by the Seattle P-I.com.
And Democrat Congressman Adam Smith predicted, “You will see this copied across the country if this passes.”