By Joe Waldron
Remembering victims of violent crime is a commendable gesture, so long as it doesnt become a publicity stunt.
Deplorably, thats what the organizers of this years annual bulb planting at Green Lake Park did recently, with questionable statistics and one outright fabrication.
Washington CeaseFire President Ralph Fascitelli used the event to lament the 600 victims of gun violence in Washington State during the past year. He also engaged in some fear mongering about .50-caliber rifles, and a mythical gun show loophole for which gun control extremists have blamed everything but the sinking of the Lusitania.
First, define gun violence. Six hundred people did not die in Washington during the past year as a result of robberies, domestic disputes, gang shootings or outright murder. About 75 percent of the people whom CeaseFire considers victims of gun violence were suicides. For a number of reasons, the Evergreen State suffers from a suicide rate above the national average, while the homicide rate is well below the national average. Others were accident victims.
Remarkably, many people who advocate assisted suicide draw the political line when the act involves a firearm. On the nonsense scale, that equals support of a womans right to choose abortion, while opposing that same womans right to purchase and carry a gun with which to defend herself and her children against an abusive ex-husband, former boyfriend or random stalker.
Is a thug shot and killed by police or a private citizen also one of CeaseFires victims of gun violence? Fascitellis inflated gun violence victims statistic includes death by legal intervention (i.e. self-defense shootings and other justifiable homicides).
The panacea to end all this gun violence invariably centers on banning .50-caliber rifles and closing non-existent gun show loopholes. Two high-profile Seattle shootings this year, the Capitol Hill massacre in March and Julys shooting at the Jewish Federation, have fueled the debate.
In neither case did the gunman get his firearms from a gun show. Accused Jewish Center gunman Naveed Haq bought his handguns at retail in the Tri-Cities area after passing a background check and going through the states mandatory waiting period. Deceased gunman Kyle Huff brought his firearms from Montana, where they were bought at retail gun shops. There is no evidence suggesting that either man ever set foot in a gun show, here or anywhere else.
Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske also wants to lobby against gun shows, as if that might be where his stolen 9mm Glock will one day show up for sale, no questions asked.
Teen gang bangers dont get their firearms from gun shops, gun shows or any other legitimate source. So one must ask why CeaseFire is so obsessed with putting gun shows essentially out of business. According to a Justice Department survey of convicted armed criminals, less than one percent of these people got their guns from a gun show.
That fact is deliberately ignored, while on another level the debate over .50-caliber rifles fact has been discarded by Fascitelli. Quoted by a Seattle newspaper, he asserted that someone could buy a .50-caliber assault weapon with titanium bullets powerful enough to bring down an airliner.
Theres no such thing as a titanium bullet for the .50-caliber rifle, or any other firearm. Sounds sinister, but they dont exist. The only titanium bullet I know of is a ball point pen. Besides, there has never been a jetliner shot down with a .50-caliber rifle.
To his credit, Kerlikowske did point to one possible explanation for a rise in crime during the past year: The release of a large number of prison inmates who have finished their sentences. But Kerlikowske knows there are already ample federal and state laws against felons owning or possessing firearms. We do not need more laws that only restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens to address that problem.
Nobody condones firearm crime, most assuredly not the million-plus citizens in this state who own guns, and the 240,000 who are legally licensed to carry concealed handguns for their own protection.
Laws supported by the likes of Washington CeaseFire would ultimately disarm honest citizens, while doing nothing to keep armed criminals off the streets. Its time to ask these people just whose side theyre on.
Joe Waldron is executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Bellevue (www.new.ccrkba.org) and president of the Washington Arms Collectors.