Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene has offered an interesting piece of legislation that would prohibit the government from “creating religious registries” in response to an alleged proposal from President-elect Donald Trump about “the noxious concept of a registry,” the Seattle Times editorialized, supporting DelBene’s plan.
As the editorial put it, “Today it’s Muslims but tomorrow it could be Evangelicals, Catholics or Mormons, if this became a country where presidents choose which religions can be practiced freely and which must be monitored like a dangerous dog.”
But Second Amendment advocates might have a question for DelBene and the newspaper’s editorial board: Does this mean you would also oppose establishing any kind of gun registration system?
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It’s a legitimate question, considering the newspaper’s past editorial support for two invasive gun control measures that have been passed in the Evergreen State, not to mention DelBene’s liberal Democrat credentials. In particular, Initiative 594, passed in 2014, requires background checks for all firearms transfers, even private party transfers, including loans of firearms, and the return of those guns to their rightful owners. Since this creates a paper trail of who has what firearm, there is a legitimate argument that this is creating a de facto registry of gun owners.
That becomes more important when one reads a piece in the Los Angeles Times that claims half of the guns in this country are owned by only three percent of the adults, according to a study by Harvard Public Health researchers. That study reportedly says that the percentage of Americans who own guns has fallen from 25 percent to 22 percent over the past two decades.
The Guardian reported in September that Americans own “an estimated 265 million guns.” Anti-gunners would very much like to know who those gun owners are and where they store all of that ordnance.
The idea of preventing a religious registry would likely appeal to firearms owners for the same reason they dislike the idea of gun registration and owner licensing. It is none of the government’s business where one worships, and it is equally none of the government’s business who might have a gun, or several guns, in their home. So long as nobody is up to any malicious activity, nobody should care.
Pilgrims originally came to these shores to escape religious discrimination, and their ancestors fought a revolution to establish a nation built on liberty. There is a right to privacy, which not only protects how one worships, but should also keep the government out of bedroom and the gun safe.
On Thursday, the state Department of Licensing reported that there are now 566,685 active concealed pistol licenses in Washington. That’s an impressive jump of 6,235 CPLs in just the past month. At the end of October, there were 560,450 active CPLs. This translates to more than 57,000 new licenses issued since the beginning of the year, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
DelBene should take note that roughly one-third of those CPLs are in the counties she represents: Whatcom (15,063), Skagit (11,633), Snohomish (60,069) and the north part of King (99,848). They might laud her effort to prevent a religious registry, but they would also expect the same consideration where their privacy as gun owners is concerned.