Eleven Democrat members of the Washington State Senate are pushing legislation that would effectively defeat the state’s ground-breaking “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law adopted in the early 1990s, which locks up violent repeat offenders for life without parole upon their third conviction.
The law was put in place by a public vote and became the model for similar laws adopted by other states. It sent a message to recidivist offenders to stop committing felony crimes or face being locked up for the remainder of their lives. The original measure was championed by veteran Seattle talk radio host John Carlson. During his Friday morning broadcast on KVI-AM, Carlson was critical of the legislation, Substitute Senate Bill 5036.
Several years ago, Dave LaCourse, who largely authored the Three Strikes law, wrote a lengthy explanation of the “Three Strikes” movement.
Signing on as sponsors are Democrats Reuven Carlyle, Jeannie Darneille, Manka Dhingra, Mona Das, Bob Hasegawa, Mark Mullet, Joe Nguyen, Jamie Pedersen, Derek Stanford, Lisa Wellman and Claire Wilson. No Republicans appear to even support the idea much less sign on.
If passed, the legislation will allow lifers who have been locked up “at least 20 years” could be eligible for parole.
One thing that leaps out of the text of the legislation is that the authors have changed the term “offender” to “individual,” as though to soften their image as convicted criminals.
In August 2019, the State Supreme Court rejected three challenges to the “Three Strikes” law.
When the original measure was on the ballot, it was opposed by liberals across the state. The National Rifle Association helped fund the campaign, which was also supported by other gun rights organizations because it focused on punishing repeat offenders rather than penalizing whole classes of citizens, including Evergreen State gun owners.
The Three Strikes law has previously been targeted for repeal or at least erosion, but Carlson defended the statute not only because it puts violent repeat offenders behind bars, but also because of the possible deterrent effect.
There is no small irony with this situation. At the same time leading Democrats are pushing SSB 5036, they are also backing proposals to ratchet down on law-abiding gun owners.
For example, there is a bill to ban open carry at “public permitted demonstrations” and at the Capitol. Substitute Senate Bill 5038 has several of the same sponsors, including Pedersen, Dhingra, Das, Carlyle, Darneille, Wellman and Wilson.
SSB 5078 would prohibit future sales of so-called “high capacity magazines.” Among its sponsors are Pedersen, Darneille, Nguyen and Wilson.
Washington gun owners and grassroots activists are being encouraged to flood the Legislative Hotline in opposition to SSB 5036, and many are expected to oppose the other two measures as well. For gun owners in the state, call 800-562-6000.
MEANWHILE, Fox News is reporting that the Biden administration has revived the controversial “catch and release” policy of detaining and then releasing illegal aliens crossing the border, at least in parts of Texas.
“Catch and Release” has legions of critics. It was halted by former President Donald Trump.
According to the Fox story, “Under court order, the Border Patrol is only permitted to hold migrants up to 72 hours. In some areas of Texas, where migrant apprehensions doubled in the last few months, sectors can no longer meet that mandate. Compounding the problem, in some areas, Mexico is refusing to accept more families under Title 42, the pandemic order imposed by Trump to deny entry to any immigrant, including asylum seekers.”
The story also noted that illegal immigrants “do not arrive with a negative COVID test and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) does not test unless symptoms are obvious. So even though officials know nothing about the migrants’ travel or medical history, they’re being dropped off at the nearest bus station and could be spreading the virus.”