Updated: So-called “Comprehensive Background Check” (CBC) laws passed in Washington and Colorado have had little effect, and that may be because “citizens simply decided not to comply and there was a lack of enforcement,” according to a story in The Guardian.
The report appears in Injury Prevention, a medical journal.
A third state, Delaware, did show some effect in the number of CBCs conducted, according to Fox News.
The revelation comes three years after a citizen initiative funded by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility spent more than $10 million to get approved by voters in a virtually one-sided election. The gun prohibition lobbying group outspent opponents by at least 10-to-1 and their advertising dominated the airwaves.
But an analysis of that election showed that they may have overstated the popularity of their measure among voters. During the campaign, it was claimed that about 80 percent of the voters supported the concept of “universal background checks.” But on election night, Initiative 594 garnered just under 60 percent of the popular vote.
As The Guardian noted, “Opponents of the new laws in both Colorado and Washington had proudly advertised their noncompliance with the new regulations. In Washington…more than 1,000 gun rights supporters held an “I will not comply” demonstration at the state capitol where they reportedly flouted the newly passed law in public by transferring firearms to each other in full view of law enforcement. In Colorado, some sheriffs in more conservative rural areas reportedly said they would not enforce the new gun control law, and others that enforcement would simply be “a very low priority.”
A majority of Evergreen State sheriffs were opposed to I-594, along with law enforcement firearms instructors, gun and hunting clubs, the National Rifle Association, and an umbrella group called Protect Our Gun Rights (POGR), that included the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
According to The Guardian, the new study did not attempt to verify whether the new background check laws had any impact on gun-related violence or crime.
In Washington state, there is no indication that the law has prevented any crime, but there is at least one case brought against a man in northern Puget Sound who allegedly supplied a gun used in a homicide, but the victim still died. Two high-profile shootings, one at a teen party north of Seattle and the other at a shopping mall in Burlington, claimed a combined total of eight lives. In one case, the killer bought a gun at retail and passed a background check. In the other case, the killer took a gun from his stepfather’s home.
The Guardian quoted Dr. Garen Wintemute, who participated in the study, and is a long time researcher of gun-related violence. He candidly told the publication, “These aren’t the results I hoped to see. I hoped to see an effect. But it’s much more important to see what’s actually happened.”
However, the article indicated that he is hopeful more people will realize they need to comply with the background check requirement.
But is that going to happen? If thousands of gun owners in Washington and Colorado simply ignore the law, then what? At this point, it would be a matter of conjecture.
Still, there is some political activity in Washington that suggests gun control advocates are aware their legislative prize is something of a dud, because they are heavily involved in trying to fill a vacancy in the State Senate next month with a Democrat gun control proponent. Up for grabs is the state’s 45th District Senate seat that belonged to the late Sen. Andy Hill, a Republican.
In a Tuesday e-mail blast, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is trying hard to get Manka Dhingra elected to change the balance of power in the Senate. They report that she has “already proposed three gun violence prevention measures that she plans to introduce if she wins next month.” “Gun violence prevention” is the substitute term for “gun control.”
There was no mention of the fact that the Seattle Times has recommended her Republican opponent, Jinyoung Lee Englund, which was a surprise since the newspaper’s editorial board traditionally supports gun control legislation.