The fatal shooting of an armed felon in Seattle and the killing spree in Kalamazoo, allegedly committed by a man with no criminal record, raises a serious question that gun control extremists avoid like a mass of Zika-infected mosquitos: Do background checks really keep firearms out of the wrong hands?
Evidently not in Washington or Michigan, though in the latter case, experts concur that it would be impossible to prevent someone with a clean record from buying a firearm. After all, murder suspect Jason Dalton passed a background check when he started driving for Uber.
In the Seattle case, a convicted repeat offender identified as Che Andre Taylor was fatally shot by police in a confrontation that escalated after he was spotted to be “clearly armed,” according to the Seattle Police blotter and published reports. His record prevented him from legally possessing a firearm, much less carrying one as he apparently was Feb. 21. Police have released a video of the shooting.
In 2014, Evergreen State voters passed Initiative 594, a so-called “universal background check” measure that requires background checks for nearly all firearms transfers, with limited exceptions.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, was sharply critical of I-594. He was perhaps its most ardent opponent, insisting that it would not keep guns out of the wrong hands. As this case apparently demonstrates, Gottlieb has been consistently right on that score.
Back in December, the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms exposed the failures of Initiative 594 to keep guns out of the wrong hands, on the one-year anniversary of its effective date. I-594 was sold to the public as tool to prevent criminals from getting guns.
Add to that most high-profile shooters in recent years passed background checks. Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara spree killer, bought three guns at retail in California, a state with very tough gun laws and mandated background checks. He passed them all.
“They’re claiming that I-594 was a success because it allegedly blocked more than 100 transactions of allegedly prohibited people,” Gottlieb said of the proponents. “But where are the arrests, prosecutions and convictions for the people who committed a felony by lying while trying to get a gun? Where is the evidence that the people who were blocked didn’t get guns by some illicit means? To suggest that their measure helped prevent crimes is an insult to common sense.”
According to the Seattle Times, Taylor has also gone by the name of Marvin R. Hunter. His felony record includes robbery, rape, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He was under state Department of Corrections supervision at the time he was shot.
Meanwhile in Michigan, authorities are still trying to figure out why last weekend’s rampage erupted.
Dalton has been described as a family man and a quiet neighbor.
In 2014, Reason magazine carried an article that noted, “None of the items on the anti-gun lobby’s wish list makes sense as a response to the crimes of Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old college student who murdered (six people in Santa Barbara). Far from demonstrating the lifesaving potential of gun control, the Isla Vista massacre, which took place in a state with firearm laws that are among the strictest in the nation, exposes the false promise of policies that aim to prevent violence by limiting access to weapons.”
Gun control advocates insist background checks are necessary. However, if they don’t prevent criminals from getting guns, or keep mass shooters disarmed, then what is really accomplished?
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