The monthly gun show in Puyallup, Washington is a busy place this weekend as the government shutdown has not affected the National Instant Check System (NICS), and nobody seems concerned that the government “isn’t working.”
Said one man standing in line for coffee Saturday morning, “The government doesn’t work very well, anyway.”
But the big concern among the throngs of people was primarily about whether the NICS system would be running. Several people suggested that shutting down NICS, which is operated by the FBI, would be the way to “suspend the Second Amendment.” It’s the kind of stuff from which conspiracy theories are molded.
Firearms dealers at this show report that the NICS system hasn’t experienced a hiccup despite the problems on Capitol Hill, so gun transactions in the state where every transfer requires a background check thanks to the passage of Initiative 594 in 2014 are not interrupted.
But that doesn’t mean gun owners are content. The same people who pushed that initiative — which so far does not appear to have prevented any crimes, including thefts of guns from gun shops — are backing several pieces of gun control legislation. Some of those bills are up for a hearing on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Olympia before the House Judiciary Committee.
Included on the agenda are:
- HB 1387, concerning enhanced background checks and licensing for semi-auto firearms and so-called “large capacity magazines.”
- HB 2293, which would prohibit firearms in day care facilities.
- HB 2422, which would ban “large capacity” magazines.
- HB 2666, which would undo state preemption, the law that has prevented anti-gun municipal governments from imposing their own restrictions. Even the Seattle Times thinks this is a bad idea.
Gun owners attending this weekend’s Puyallup event have stopped by the tables operated by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Without fail, they have asked worriedly about the fight they face to protect their rights.
There was much talk about “bump stocks.” Legislation to ban the devices has passed out of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, but has yet to face a vote on the Senate floor.
An unscientific KIRO survey — that’s the CBS affiliate in Seattle — shows that 69 percent of the respondents do not support a ban. Only 26 percent of respondents want the devices banned.
For many gun owners, the “bump stock” controversy is a Trojan horse. Giving ground on these devices, they suggest, would simply encourage gun prohibitionists to demand some other accommodation. It is reminiscent of the old Korean War film “Pork Chop Hill” about a battle for a piece of real estate that may not be of any significance, but that was what made it so valuable.