Thursday’s Seattle Times has unintentionally provided stark evidence that a gun control measure it supported in 2014 has been a failure, as the newspaper noted there have been eight mass shootings in Washington state since January.
The eight incidents included five in which multiple people were killed, according to the newspaper.
In 2014, the newspaper supported passage of Initiative 594, a so-called “universal background check” measure that was touted as a tool to reduce “gun violence.” But it hasn’t really done that.
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A check of other newspaper archives shows murder and mayhem involving guns has continued, in Seattle, Yakima and elsewhere across the Evergreen State. I-594 didn’t prevent any of these crimes, and in some of these cases at least, it is a cinch that the perpetrators did not go through a background check when they acquired their weapons.
However, this does not translate to an “epidemic” of violence, as the gun prohibition lobby portrays what is happening in the state. Seattle’s murder rate still remains far below the average for a city of its size, and the number pales in comparison to the body count in other cities.
The Times’ review of past shootings was part of the newspaper’s coverage of a shooting in downtown Seattle Wednesday evening, not far from a protest against the election of Donald Trump as president earlier this week. Seattle police do not believe the shooting was connected to the protest.
Voters in Seattle and King County overwhelmingly supported I-594 to years ago, just as they did an “extreme risk protection order” measure on this year’s ballot. But critics in the firearms community are quick to argue that there is no evidence that either measure could or will prevent a single crime, or keep guns out of the wrong hands.
There has been only one reported prosecution under I-594 since it took effect in December 2014.
Last December, on the one-year anniversary of the law’s effective date, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms did a review of several crimes that were not prevented by I-594, noting that the law did not prevent the slaying of Seattle neighborhood activist Donnie Chin, who was also a member of the Washington Arms Collectors.
Have these failures deterred gun prohibitionists? On the contrary, they are already working on proposed legislation that would ban so-called “assault weapons.”