On the same day that scores of Second Amendment activists gathered on the Washington State capitol steps in Olympia, attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and its publication, TheGunMag.com, were filing a motion for summary judgment against the City of Seattle in a Public Records Act dispute.
About 150 activists, many of them openly armed with rifles or sidearms, braved the bone-chilling cold Friday morning to hear from pro-gun state lawmakers report on their activities so far, and on what may be on the horizon. Spokane Rep. Matt Shea told the crowd he was filing a bill to repeal provisions of Initiative 594, passed in 2014. It’s a so-called “universal background check” statute that anti-gunners are ready to fight to protect.
The initiative was bankrolled by the well-financed Alliance for Gun Responsibility, headquartered in Seattle.
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According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, “In the two years since the law went into effect, FBI data show 144 private sales have been denied, or an average of about one every 4 1/2 days, said Tallman Trask, a spokesman for the alliance.”
But Trask tells only half of a story. There is no indication that any of these apparent violators were arrested or prosecuted. Likewise, there is no evidence that any crimes have been prevented by the initiative.
Indeed, over the past couple of years since the initiative was enacted, Washington has seen some high-profile crimes occur for which the gun prohibition lobby is now fighting for even more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. There was the July 2016 triple homicide in Mukilteo, an upscale neighborhood north of Seattle. Then there was the attack at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, about 80 miles north of Seattle.
Also speaking at the rally was Grays Harbor Rep. Brian Blake, a Democrat who would like to do away with the state pistol registry.
Meanwhile, SAF attorneys filed the motion Friday. SAF and TheGunMag.com filed suit last year after the city repeatedly refused to release information about revenues from a “gun violence tax” adopted in 2015. That tax was supposed to raise between $300,000 and $500,000, which would ostensibly be used to finance violence prevention programs.
However, one retail gun shop moved out of the city last year, and another is considering it. Both are plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit involving SAF, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
TheGunMag.com says this is a First Amendment issue because the public has a right to know whether revenue forecasts were accurate or pie-in-the-sky.