Letters to the Editor

Letter falsely simplifies I-594 | Letter

Letters to the editor - Reporter file art
Letters to the editor
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I wanted to counter the falsely simplistic letter to the editor – “I-594 Will Save Lives in Our State” – that tried to explain a massive 18 page gun-control initiative in 18 seconds.

Right off the bat, writer Diane Meehl disingenuously said, “There is something we can do to save lives – vote yes on I-594.” This initiative would not stop criminals – who by their very nature don’t obey laws. This initiative would do nothing to fix the mental health system, which is the common denominator in all the recent mass murders.

Meehl’s letter goes on to say that I-594 will “close the gun loophole in our laws, which makes it easy for convicted domestic abusers to evade a background check when buying a gun.” First of all, there is no “gun-show loophole.” Current law states that any person engaged in the business of selling firearms must register with the federal government, must obtain a federal firearms license, and must submit all prospective gun buyers to an FBI or state agency background check. This requirement applies at gun shows and all other locations, all of the time. Gun shows here in the Puget Sound are run by Washington Arms Collectors, and they following the above laws, only allowing sales at their shows to those legally allowed to own firearms.

Secondly, statistics from the Bureau of Justice show that only 0.7 percent of convicts nationwide bought their firearms at gun shows. In fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms reports that 93 percent of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally – either stolen or sold in the black market.  So adding more laws to the laws which gun shows and gun dealers already follow, will not keep the bad guys from getting guns. Again…bad guys don’t follow laws.

Finally, Meehl used the talking point that “when a firearm is present in the home, a woman is five times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner with a history of violence.” Besides there being no reference as to where she found this statistic, it would be a flawed argument because it fails to consider the number of lives saved by guns. The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia reported that Americans use firearms as often as 2.5 million times every year in self-defense. In over 90 percent of these defensive uses, citizens merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off the attacker. About 8 percent of these self-defense cases were women defending themselves against sexual abuse. The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration reports that when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3 percent of rape attacks were completed, compared to 32 percent when the woman was unarmed.

But don’t rely on me, and don’t rely on Meehl, to persuade you on how to vote this November – for or against the two gun-related initiatives, I-594 and I-591.  Instead, rely on the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), the largest organization representing law enforcement professionals in Washington State. WACOPS opposes I-594, the convoluted 18-page initiative that severely harms law-abiding gun owners, while doing nothing to help public safety or law enforcement. Police and sheriffs see that not only would I-594 not stop criminals, but it would criminalize loans and transfers of firearms between family members and friends. Besides, there is something suspicious about an initiative being funded by $1 million donations from various multi-billionaire elitists, who don’t have to worry about self-defense, as they have their own privately hired security details protecting their loved ones.

Instead, WACOPS endorses I-591, the simple one-page initiative which protects against gun confiscation and is being funded by $10 and $100 donations from blue-collar Washingtonians. You can find out more about I-591 at wagunrights.org and washingtonarmscollectors.org.

Dan Michael, Woodinville



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