While Washington lawmakers have passed several new gun control bills this session, including one that bans the future sale, import or manufacture of so-called “assault weapons,” none of them are expected to lower gun-related violent crime, suggest gun rights activists.
Indeed, as has been previously reported by TGM, in the years since Evergreen State voters passed Initiative 594 (“universal background checks”) in 2014 and Initiative 1639 (minimum age 21, training, 10-day waiting period on semi-auto rifles) in 2018, the state’s homicide numbers have gone up, not down.
By no small coincidence, while the gun control laws were being passed in Olympia, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle announced a couple of major cases involving guns and people who shouldn’t have them.
According to a government news release, a pair of South King County men have been charged with “multiple firearms offenses” which included buying more than 100 firearms in what is an apparent “straw purchase” scheme. Charged in the case are Dion Jamar Cooper, 31, of Kent, Washington and De’ondre Lamontia Phillips, aka Deondre Lamontia McDougle, 32, of Federal Way, and this kind of crime could happen anywhere.
The news release revealed, “Cooper had purchased 107 firearms since June 2021. On 24 different instances he purchased multiple firearms – sometime four or more. Of the 107 firearms identified as being purchased in this scheme, 24 of the guns have been recovered and linked to crimes.”
A few lines later, the news release reported, “Phillips is prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms due to convictions for distribution of heroin (2014) and convictions for illegal firearms possession and two counts of assault (2009). Surveillance of the two revealed Cooper turning the firearms over to Phillips who stored them in his residence.”
The second case is more about drugs than guns, and it involves the indictments of six suspects in connection with a fentanyl “distribution organization” in Whatcom County, which is up against the British Columbia border.
Of the six people named in the indictments, four have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm including three who face the additional charge of carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
But there is more to Washington’s “gun problem” for which the state’s law-abiding gun owners are being penalized while they have committed no crimes. A quick check of the Seattle Police Blotter offers more evidence that gun laws do not prevent crime, because the criminal element ignores those restrictions.
In the first case, police arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with a drive-by shooting early on April 20, allegedly for firing a gun from a vehicle. Police pulled the suspect over and recovered a gun, along with 46.7 grams of suspected crack cocaine.
The second case, which unfolded April 18, saw police arrest a guy following a foot pursuit, stemming from a crash at a construction site. After obtaining a search warrant, cops checked inside the crashed car and struck pay dirt consisting of 12.4 grams of suspected fentanyl powder, 31 grams of cannabis “packaged for sale” and a loaded handgun. The suspect is a convicted felon; thus he couldn’t legally have the gun. There was no indication how or from where he got the gun.
The third caper involves the arrest of a 39-year-old man, apparently living in a motorhome and carrying a pistol openly in a shoulder holster. However, this man is also a convicted felon and cannot legally possess a firearm. In his case, he had two, the pistol and a rifle, which had been reported stolen. He had four clips and nearly 40 rounds of ammunition. The rifle was fitted with what appeared to be a homemade suppressor.
Democrats in the state capitol either don’t understand or they simply don’t care, many activists have posited, that the restrictions now being imposed on gun owners are not going to improve anything.