The Seattle Times editorial board—which for decades has never seen a gun control scheme it didn’t reflexively endorse, according to gun rights activists—is once again pressing for more restrictions on a constitutionally-protected right, by declaring in its editorial headline, “WA voters have spoken: Keep up momentum on gun laws.”
Critics of the newspaper’s editorial policy on guns frequently contend the Times uses the First Amendment to attack the Second.
The current Times message clamors for additional gun control laws which, if one reads carefully, admittedly haven’t produced the promised results. It’s not until the sixth paragraph one learns that restrictive gun control initiatives passed in 2014 (I-594) and 2018 (I-1639) via multi-million-dollar campaigns by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, really haven’t delivered the goods.
“Yet the rate of gun deaths in Washington has increased sharply, according to the Alliance, which reports a 24% increase in gun deaths between 2011 and 2020. Against those numbers, responsible gun owners are right to ask whether our laws are getting the job done,” the editorial admits.
Looking at the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reports from 2015 through 2020, one can easily conclude the gun control initiatives have failed miserably. In 2015, according to the FBI/UCR, Washington saw 209 murders including 141 committed with firearms. By 2020, that number had risen to 298 slayings, including 177 involving guns. Evidently, backers of both measures along with people who voted for them didn’t take into account the fact that criminals ignore gun restrictions that inconvenience law-abiding gun owners.
Likewise, the infamous gun and ammunition tax adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2015 has actually accomplished less than nothing if one considers lost revenue and the loss of the city’s two major firearms retail operations. In 2016, the first full year after the tax was adopted, Seattle suffered 19 homicides. In 2020, the city reported 53 murders and last year the number declined to 43 for the year, but this year homicides are back on the rise. There have already been 54 murders in 2022, according to Seattle Homicide, a Twitter account not connected to the Seattle Police Department. That number will certainly rise with a month remaining.
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
Now, in the aftermath of a fatal shooting earlier this month at Ingraham High School, the newspaper and the gun prohibition lobby want to push for a “safe storage” law because the gun used in that crime was reported missing several days before the incident.
The Times also wants to push for a ban on so-called “military-style weapons” used in several mass shootings, which it acknowledges are “comparatively rare.”
While the editorial suggests the newspaper chats with gun prohibitionists, nowhere was there evidence the board reached out to Second Amendment groups for a different perspective. They did mention a “national analysis of mass shootings going back to 1999,” which turned out to be a story in the New York Times, another newspaper whose editorial board never saw a gun control law it didn’t like.
Buried well into that article was this admission: “No single policy in the analysis would have affected a majority of the shootings on its own. And the measure that seems most likely to achieve bipartisan support in the Senate — a broader background check law — would have had a clear influence on only a handful of shootings, according to the database.”
Perhaps it is no wonder the Seattle editorial has drawn a fair number of harsh criticisms, including this one from a reader: “One thing you can count on in STEB (Seattle Times Editorial Board) opinions like this is how woefully ignorant many of the readers are regarding our state and federal constitutional rights, including those regarding firearms.”
Another reader observed, “The CDC commissioned research that reviewed scores of studies on gun control laws and found no evidence they reduce gun violence. Sadly, WA’s gun violence has grown significantly worse since I-1639 passed.”
Perhaps the elephant-in-the-room question should be about getting rid of laws that clearly haven’t worked, rather than piling on more potentially ineffective legislation on top of previous failed efforts.
Gun owners don’t want criminals or crazy people to have guns, either, but they know that making it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutionally-protected rights is not going to prevent outlaws and psychopaths from committing violent crimes, even when they don’t use guns. Ask anyone in Moscow, Idaho.