On the third day of the 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, business appears to be booming, but many Evergreen State gun industry folks here are looking homeward where the state House Judiciary Committee is holding public hearings on gun control measures aimed at their rights and livelihoods.
Thursday afternoon’s hearing will likely draw the same crowd as last week’s Senate Law and Justice hearing on gun control bills. These measures are being pushed hard by the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby because Democrats now hold a slim majority in both the House and Senate.
By no small coincidence, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat churned out an interesting column in Thursday’s morning edition, warning liberals not to overplay their hands. While he talked about most of the errors liberals (make that Democrats) are making with national and local issues, he didn’t include gun control.
Westneat’s column should be considered a warning shot across the bow of a liberal ship that seems to be moving along at ramming speed in an environment where it could easily run aground. As is typical of liberals/Democrats, when they gain control, they push too far. The backlash can be brutal, and the November elections are not that far away.
In Las Vegas, hundreds of miles to the southeast of Seattle and Olympia, the firearms industry is upbeat. Exhibitors’ displays are jammed, there is a lively outdoor press crew of some 2,500 journalists covering the events.
Outside the Sands Expo Center on Wednesday was a lone protester. Chicago resident Lee Goodman told a reporter that he traveled from the Windy City just to picket outside the event and then march from the show site to the Mandalay Bay Hotel, from whence a deranged killer opened fire last Oct. 1, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more at a nearby concert. Local authorities still have not determined why he did it.
But killer Stephen Haddock does not represent the tens of thousands of firearms industry professionals gathered for the 40th annual SHOT Show, nor did he represent their millions of customers back home.
And that is where the arguments of gun prohibitionists in Washington and every other state fall flat. They want to penalize and punish law-abiding gun owners for crimes they didn’t commit, because they own firearms that have never been used in a criminal act.
Goodman’s cap was adorned with a button that read, simply, “Must Be Infringed.” It was aimed at the “shall not be infringed” tenet of the Second Amendment.
Liberals who dislike guns would be aghast at the firearms and equipment displays inside the SHOT Show. There is camaraderie, commerce and safety.
Meanwhile, in Washington and other states, there is conflict over a constitutionally-delineated fundamental right, as the liberals about whom Westneat writes continue flailing away, looking for ways to turn that right into a chokingly regulated privilege.