Right out of the gate in his opinion piece about so-called “smart guns” in the New York Daily News’ Sunday edition, Washington Ceasefire’s Ralph Fascitelli perpetuates the false impression that “gun violence” somehow accounts for the “almost 34,000 Americans (that) die from firearms annually.”
Fascitelli knows that roughly two-thirds of annual firearms-related deaths are suicides, not criminal violence. That’s why Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, has been a driving force in creating a “Safer Homes” suicide prevention project in the Evergreen State.
When Fascitelli further writes that a government effort against drunk driving “played a key role in reducing drunken driving deaths by 50% over the past 30 years,” he should also know that firearms fatalities have been steadily going down during the same period. Government may have had negligible involvement in that, if one pays attention to a bit of research done by Joe Huffman, whose blog “The View From North Central Idaho” has a substantial following.
Fascitelli is a personable fellow. A transplant to the Seattle area from the East, he has been involved with Washington Ceasefire for many years. He has even been on the same side as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, backing a program that focused on disarming teen thugs while leaving law-abiding gun owners alone.
Washington State, according to the latest data from the Department of Licensing, now has more than 575,000 active concealed pistol licenses. In King County, where Seattle is located and Ceasefire is headquartered, there are more than 101,000 CPLs, and approximately 20 percent of those are held by women. There has been no discernible demand for “smart guns” from any of these folks.
Last summer, Fascitelli announced that Washington and Oregon Ceasefire groups would be pushing for legislative bans on so-called “assault weapons.” Last fall, Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson threw his weight behind the ban proposal, and a second plan that called for licensing of such guns and their owners.
The problem is that Washington and Oregon have very few slayings that involve rifles of any kind, much less so-called “assault weapons,” according to FBI data.
Both ideas died in the House, which is controlled by Democrats. When a gun control idea can’t get much traction among Democrats it’s probably not a good idea.
So now comes Fascitelli’s new push for “smart guns.” He thinks the idea, and the product, will get more traction if police departments adopt them.
Police, on the other hand, evidently think “smart guns” aren’t ready for prime time because they are not rushing to adopt the technology.
To Fascitelli’s credit, he held a forum on “smart guns” a couple of years ago that attracted some of the brighter minds in the field to Seattle. But there was an embarrassing moment when they couldn’t get a laptop program to work, casting doubt on the life-or-death firearms technology that proponents were trying to promote.
In his blog, Idaho’s Huffman notes that, “From 1985 to 2015 the total number (of accidental firearms) deaths dropped from 1649 to 489. A decrease of over 70%. And if we look at the death rate instead of total deaths it went from 0.69 to 0.15 per 100,000.” This was based on data he gleaned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also to his credit, Fascitelli acknowledged that roughly 250,000 firearms are stolen annually. That precludes any sort of background check that might be forced on law-abiding citizens. Ove the past five years, he adds, more than 10,000 guns have been stolen from police, also making background checks irrelevant.
And he notes that “Neither the NRA nor the National Shooting Sports Foundation is on record as being against smart guns,” correcting a myth created by some gun prohibition lobbying groups. NRA, NSSF, CCRKBA and other groups simply contend that the marketplace should decide whether this technology will be accepted by the public.