When the leaders of one political party push gun control and matter-of-factly tell readers of a Seattle newspaper that this is their game plan, is that a promise or a warning?
Democrat state legislators Jamie Pedersen and Reuven Carlyle co-authored an Op-ed piece in the Seattle Times that complained about how “The Republican majority in the Senate Law & Justice Committee has blocked hearings and votes on bills to reduce gun violence with bipartisan support, such as one requiring safe storage and another regulating assault weapons.”
A couple of paragraphs later, Pedersen and Carlyle declared, “If we were chairing the committees, we would not only give hearings to those bills, but we would work closely with our House counterparts — Rep. Laurie Jinkins and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon — to get the legislation to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk.”
Readers should definitely take that as a warning.
This comes on the heels of Seattle’s admission Monday that its “gun violence tax” had been essentially a failure in terms of revenue. Since the tax was imposed two years ago, and has been collected since January 2016, shootings have reportedly gone up in the city. In 2015, when the tax was adopted, there were a total of 226 “shots fired” reports. Last year, the number declined slightly to 210 “shots fired,” but so far this year, as of Aug. 2, there were 237 such reports, according to Seattle police data.
The timing of this Pedersen-Carlyle Op-Ed, which focused on far more than just firearms, was coincidental with Monday’s publication of a different Op-Ed in The Hill by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on the subject of Democrats regaining control of state legislatures and governorships in 2018. As Rendell laments:
“Not only does the GOP have total control of Congress and the White House, they now have total control of 26 states where they have both houses of the legislature and the governorship. Democrats, on the other hand, have similar full control of only six states. In fact, this brings the number of Democratic governors in office to just 15, compared to 34 Republican governors.”
Conservative pundits, and especially gun rights activists might offer Rendell a solution: Advise your party to stop trying to erode the Second Amendment. It delineates a civil right, not a government-regulated privilege. For some reason, too many Democrats can’t seem to digest the right to keep and bear arms, many gun owners have concluded.
In his 1,039-word sermon, Rendell acknowledged, “We must get away from the idea that Democratic candidates everywhere in the country must fit a certain mold and must agree on all issues. That is a prescription for disaster. As much as I am an adamant proponent for sensible gun control, I realize that being for an assault weapons ban and a magazine capacity limit, positions that would resonate well in Massachusetts and Oregon, would make it difficult for a candidate to propose them and be successful in many red states.”
He might think those positions “resonate well” in Oregon, but he is probably wearing blinders that focus solely on the Willamette Valley from Portland to Salem. Get beyond those environs, and especially to places like Bend, Pendleton, Baker City or Redmond, and that resonance might dissipate rapidly. Likewise, the views of Pedersen and Carlyle might appeal to liberals in Puget Sound and Vancouver on the Columbia River, but they probably stink out loud to someone in Colville, Republic, Tonasket or Naches.
All this demonstrates is that Rendell, Pedersen, Carlyle and other Democrats, while preaching about being the “big tent party” still believe their views should prevail. And gun control is a big part of what the party – not necessarily individual members – stands for.
It’s the wrong message to be sending to an electorate that seems to be more divided by the day, if not the hour.