Since the start of the year, Washington State has added almost 37,000 active concealed pistol licenses including the 6,734 added just during November, which suggests just because the state’s political tilt is dominated by liberal Seattle and the I-5 corridor, an increasing number of people are not ready to surrender their safety.
Over the past five years, since December 2014, the state has added more than 170,300 CPLs, according to records from the state Department of Licensing. Back on Dec. 31, there were 608,460 active licenses.
Washington has always been fairly well-armed. With a population hovering between 7.5 and 8 million, by subtracting people under age 21, and those disqualified from owning firearms, a rough estimate would have one out of every 9 or 10 legal adults is licensed to carry. Translate that to having nine of every 100 people one passes on the street might be legally packing. In King County, which encompasses Seattle, there are 103,248 active licenses, which belies the impression that the Jet City is some sort of gun-free zone populated exclusively by Utopian liberals.
When Washington achieved statehood on Nov. 11, 1889, it enacted a state constitution that includes Article 1, Section 24: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
In 1912, when Arizona became a state, it adopted the same language into its own state constitution, Article 2, Section 26.
Maybe part of the steady climb in concealed carry can be attributed to the activities of the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby, which has been pushing increasingly restrictive gun control laws.
Then again, part of the reason might be blamed on what happened in Seattle on Monday, when the presiding judge at the King County Courthouse ordered that the main entrance to the building, which houses the courts, county government and main office of the Sheriff’s Department, be closed for the remainder of the year. The reason, according to the Seattle Times, is blunt: “The court has received continued reports of assaults outside the courthouse.”
One week ago, an attorney and bus driver were physically assaulted by a man right in front of the building. It was caught on camera as a courthouse officer confronted the suspect and zapped him with a Taser.
It should be noted that the suspect, identified by KIRO as Frank Amos Hypolite, 26, had been arrested four times previously during the past two months, according to KIRO, giving ammunition to critics of city government that their policies have turned the city into a backdrop for this sort of behavior. According to KOMO, Hypolite apparently recently arrived in Seattle from Georgia.
Judge Jim Rogers, quoted by the Seattle Times, wrote in his order closing the main courthouse entrance, “These safety conditions have the effect of discouraging and denying access and therefore justice to all who would seek it from our Court. It discourages jury service.”
Back in mid-March, Seattle’s KOMO—the local ABC affiliate—broadcast an hour-long special titled “Seattle Is Dying.” It infuriated the city’s liberal establishment, but was praised by many people who either live in or work in the city. The special, narrated by KOMO’s Eric Johnson, described the city’s homeless and drug problems. Judge Rogers’ order only serves to underscore the belief that the situation has not changed, but perhaps only become worse.
As reported by the Seattle Times, concerns about security outside the courthouse “are nothing new.” Back in 2017, judges had requested increased security around the courthouse, the newspaper recalled. People living outside of Seattle, who are uncomfortably held hostage by the prevailing politics there, see these reports and react accordingly.
Washington gun owners have been a relatively lethargic lot at election time, which many believe contributed to last year’s passage of gun control Initiative 1639. That measure outlawed purchases of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” by young adults under age 21. It also invented a definition of such a gun, which Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said earlier this year doesn’t really exist. More than 47,000 Spokane County citizens are legally “packing,” according to the state data.
The lethargy may be changing. A vigorous grassroots effort is now underway to qualify Initiative 1094 for presentation to the Legislature in January. It would repeal I-1639.
While the issues may seem unrelated, they are very much intertwined. It comes down to a collision of philosophies; the left versus the right. It may seem simplistic, but simple terms are often the best. The more those on the left contend it’s more complicated, the less those on the right are willing to believe it.
They want only to live their own lives, without someone else trying to tell them how, and they don’t want visiting a public building to be dangerous.