In a state where national elections seem to turn blue, Washington may be something of a contradiction, considering that the past several years have seen concealed carry skyrocket while Seattle liberals have lobbied hard for increasingly extremist gun control measures.
A look back to 2013 shows that the year opened with 392,784 active concealed pistol licenses, according to the state Department of Licensing. One year later, in January 2014, the number had climbed to 449,532, and by the end of that year there were 478,460 active CPLs. On Dec. 31, 2015, Washington had 509,578 CPLs in circulation and by Jan. 3 of last year there were 571,476 licenses.
The latest report from the Department shows 590,749 active CPLs. The total increase over the past five years has been 197,965 more armed citizens with carry licenses.
That information is not lost on the Evergreen State gun rights activists as the 2018 legislative session gets underway. A pro-rights rally is scheduled Friday, Jan. 12 on the capitol steps in Olympia, and they’ve even got a draft letter to circulate among lawmakers.
Two issues are at the top of the list for the Second Amendment community, as detailed in this letter:
Preemption – Currently, all gun laws are defined at the state level which is as it should be. A drive by Seattle to remove preemption and allow cities and others to create their own gun laws would wreak havoc against the law abiding. It would not stop criminals (who care nothing about laws or restrictions) but a person who was by example, a legal concealed carry holder could travel from one set of laws to another merely driving one town over.
Ban on “Assault Weapons” and Magazine Capacity – First, the term assault weapon is a made-up term by the anti-gun groups for fear and shock value. Any gun can be an assault weapon just as any can be a defense weapon. It is the intent of the holder to use them as such. We do not have an issue here in our State with any specific type of weapon or magazine capacity nor does banning those prevent criminal behavior. All it does is impair and infringe on the law abiding citizen’s rights and in fact, increases the chance of them being harmed as proven by The Department of Justice’s own study titled “Guns in America” which shows unequivocal evidence that firearms are used as defensive means 30 to 40 times more than criminal usage and “when a robbery victim does not defend themselves, the robber succeeds 88% of the time and the victim injured seriously 25%” while “when a victim resists with a gun, the rate of robbery success falls to 20% and victim injury rate falls to 17%”.
This opens a possible can of worms for anti-gunners, including state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of homicides, nationally and in Washington State, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2014-2016 (the report for 2017 will not be released until September 2018).
In 2016, of the 195 reported Evergreen State homicides, 127 involved firearms. Of that number, only 11 involved rifles, although there were 42 fatal shootings in which the type of firearm was not specified.
The previous year saw 209 slayings in that state, of which 141 involved firearms. Only three of those were committed with rifles, while in 49 gun-related slayings the type of firearm was unspecified.
In 2014, there were 172 murders in Washington of which 94 involved guns and only six of those were identified as rifles. That year there were 30 unspecified guns used in the slayings.
Based on these statistics, it is unlikely that more than a handful of the “unspecified” firearms were rifles of any kind and that includes so-called “assault rifles,” which are actually semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, or “MSRs.”
Yet, the gun prohibition lobby wants to ban an entire class of rifles. Gun owners suspect this is more about passing “trophy legislation” and getting the public used to the notion of gun bans than it is about preventing violent crime.
Washington is quickly becoming a “test tube state” for anti-gunners. If they can dismantle state preemption here, they will use what they learn in the process to attack similar laws in other states.
Gun rights activists headed to Olympia late next week hope to erect some road blocks.