UPDATED 2/14, 5:35 p.m. — Writing in the Kirkland Reporter recently with a guest editorial, Washington State Rep. Amy Walen (D-48th District) declared the need to keep firearms away from violent offenders.
“Less than a month into 2020,” she wrote, “gunfire exploded through downtown Seattle. The evening streets were full of life — bustling with rush hour commuters and people nearing the end of their daily routines when shots rang out. One person was killed, while seven others — including a 9-year-old child — were injured. Dozens more ran for their lives. Everyone involved will live with the trauma and fear of that night for the rest of their lives.”
It may not be quite that traumatic for everyone involved, but there are several people who now know this incident was more intriguing for what the local media really hasn’t discussed that much. All three participants in this shooting were convicted felons who could not legally possess firearms, so they were ignoring every gun control law that Walen and the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby promoted and supports. Two of them were even under “supervision” by the Department of Corrections.
“Washington voters put common sense reforms in place to stop the spread of all forms of gun violence,” she contended. “In 2018, the people of Washington passed Initiative 1639 to reduce mass shootings and overall gun violence statewide.”
However, Walen is writing about an incident that was not prevented by I-1639, which is being challenged in U.S. District court on federal constitutional grounds. Critics say it is a draconian law that only inconveniences law-abiding citizens, and particularly young adults who have lost their Second Amendment right to purchase any kind of semi-automatic rifle.
Then Walen contends, “if you can’t buy a gun legally, you shouldn’t be able to buy ammunition. We have background checks for guns to keep violent offenders from purchasing weapons, but not for ammunition. Fourteen states across the country, including Louisiana, Nevada and Texas, have already passed this simple, commonsense measure to prevent more unnecessary violence. We should be like Texas and pass this bill.”
According to the anti-gun Giffords Law Center, Texas law does not “Require the seller of ammunition to make a record of the purchaser” or “Require a license for the purchase or possession of ammunition.” Neither does Louisiana, or Nevada.
Update: Giffords Law Center does note: “Louisiana enacted a law prohibiting any person from intentionally giving, selling, donating, providing, lending, delivering, or otherwise transferring ammunition to any person known by the offender to have been convicted of a felony and prohibited by Louisiana law from possessing a firearm.”
The Center also notes about Nevada: “In Nevada, a person may not sell or otherwise dispose of any ammunition to another person if the seller or transferor has “actual knowledge” that the person:
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, a felony in Nevada, any other state, or under federal law;
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Has been adjudicated as mentally ill or has been committed to any mental health facility; or
- Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.”
In Texas, Giffords states, “Texas prohibits the transfer of ammunition to some, but not all, of the same categories of persons who are prohibited from purchasing firearms under state law. More specifically, Texas prohibits any person from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly selling ammunition to any person who is intoxicated, and from knowingly selling ammunition to any person who has been convicted of a felony before the fifth anniversary of the later of: 1) the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the felony; or 2) the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision following conviction of the felony.”
CFL checked with a source in Texas who confirmed there is no background check for ammunition purchases. Ditto Louisiana, per a reliable resident source.
If Walen is sincere that she only wants to disarm criminals, she’s got friends in the firearms community, and they were way ahead of her, by more than 25 years. In 1993, Evergreen State gun owners—not gun control proponents—created and championed the nation’s first “Three Strikes” law, which took violent recidivist offenders off the streets permanently. Two years later, that was followed up by “Hard Time for Armed Crime,” another idea that came from gun owners but was not supported by the liberal establishment.
Two of the three downtown Seattle shooters have 65 arrests and 35 convictions between them, including four felony convictions. The third guy, who was wounded in the gunfire exchange, had been told at least four times by King County Superior Court judges to stay away from firearms. Evidently to nobody’s surprise—except perhaps for Rep. Walen and Seattle-based gun prohibitionists—that fellow didn’t comply with instructions.
Walen is co-sponsor of Substitute House Bill 1068, which bans so-called “high capacity magazines.” She is also sponsoring or supporting other gun control measures, none of which would have prevented the downtown shooting.
On the other hand, had prosecutors and judges in King County not been so turnstile-lenient with any of the suspects in the Jan. 22 fatal shooting fracas, the participants would likely have been in jail, and therefore unable to commit the crimes for which honest gun owners might now be penalized.
Washington gun owners believe they are under intense attack by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, and their rights are at risk. When they read arguments put forth by Walen, apparently containing false information, they at least understand why.
An earlier version of this report did not contain the specific prohibitions on ammunition sales to those known to be prohibited from purchasing firearms. We apologize for the confusion. It does not appear those states conduct background checks on ammunition sales.
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