UPDATED, 2/7 4:41 p.m. — A new survey conducted for KING5 News in Seattle carried the alarming headline declaring “45% of voters say Washington gun laws aren’t strict enough,” with anti-gun State Sen. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat, concurring that the state needs stricter gun laws.
But wait a minute, says gun rights activist Tim Jennings. He found the following message on Facebook and posted it to his timeline: “Notice how they word this headline. Flip it on its head and this actually means that 55% of the state thinks the gun laws are good as they are (27%), are too strict (19%) or they simply don’t know (9%).” While Jennings clarified he is not the original author, the math and the reasoning stacks up.
Even if you eliminate the nine percent who aren’t sure, there are still 46 percent of Washington voters who think gun laws do not need to be more restrictive. The survey was done for KING by SurveyUSA between Jan. 26 and Jan. 31, contacting 1,103 registered voters statewide.
“Of those voters,” according to KING, “41% were Democrats, 26% were Republicans, and 27% were Independents. Nearly half were from the Seattle metro area, a quarter were from eastern Washington, and a little more than a quarter were from western Washington, reflecting statewide population and demographics.”
How many respondents were actually gun owners? After all, this is essentially a popularity contest focusing on a constitutionally enumerated fundamental right.
Reports like this shake the public’s confidence, especially gun owners, in news media, and for KING5 News—the Seattle NBC affiliate—there was more.
In a Thursday story about new charges filed against the girlfriend of one of the downtown Seattle shooting suspects, the report initially asserted, “Police searched (suspect Daaoshara) Galbert’s vehicle, where officers found a receipt for a gun store in King County. The receipt was dated January 22 at 12:30 p.m., about four hours prior to the shooting…(Murder suspect Marquise) Tolbert drove Galbert’s car to the gun store, where he can be seen on surveillance video using cash to purchase a handgun and magazine, court documents said.”
Except that’s not what documents said. The document to which the story apparently refers is a Seattle police detective’s statement of probable cause, which explains: “Galbert’s vehicle was recovered at the scene of the arrest in Las Vegas. This vehicle was searched pursuant to a search warrant on 02/02/20. A receipt from a gun store in South King County was found in the car. The receipt is dated 01/22/20 and shows a transaction from 12:30 pm, approximately 4 ½ hours before the shooting. The receipt shows a cash sale for a Glock .380 caliber 12 round magazine. This magazine holds double the ammunition of the stock magazine. Detectives obtained video from the store that captured this sale. Tolbert is seen on the gun store video buying the .380 caliber magazine….”
No handgun was sold to Tolbert, as that would be a crime under existing state and federal law, according to one prominent southwest Washington firearms retailer contacted by Conservative Firing Line. Tolbert would have had to fill out required paperwork and go through a background check, which he could not pass with his criminal background. There would have been a mandatory waiting period on the sale of a handgun.
A journalist who specializes in firearms reporting actually reached out to KING to point out the error early Friday morning. Several hours later, after this story was reported on Seattle’s KVI-AM radio, KING5 News corrected their report, adding an editor’s note: “A previous version of this story incorrectly said Tolbert purchased a handgun at the gun store, but in fact, he only purchased the magazine.”
Conservative Firing Line on Thursday reported that both Tolbert and his alleged accomplice, William Tolliver, were under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections when the Jan. 22 shooting occurred at a busy intersection in the heart of downtown Seattle. Seven people were injured and one female bystander was killed when the two suspects allegedly exchanged a volley of gunfire with a rival gang member, Jamel Jackson, who is also in custody. He’s been charged with illegal possession of a firearm.
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