The Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced during a student protest Friday that it will launch a new initiative campaign to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 to purchase so-called “assault rifles.”
The news came on the eve of a gun rights rally on the Capitol steps in Olympia that is expected to attract as many as 2,000 people at noon Saturday. Mislabeled a “gun safety” measure, this gun control effort is the latest push by the gun prohibition lobby to regulate firearms in the Evergreen State. In 2014, they pushed through Initiative 594 with a $10.2 million campaign. That measure requires so-called “universal background checks” and it was offered as a crime prevention measure. But two high-profile shootings in the state in 2016 were not prevented by I-594.
According to KIRO, the local CBS affiliate, the initiative needs 3,000 signatures by the first week of July, which should be easily done with paid signature gatherers. The Alliance is well-financed, with support from Seattle-area billionaires and wealthy elitists.
Alliance CEO Renee Hopkins asserted that this initiative “is comprehensive and that we know will save lives in Washington state.”
But is that wishful thinking? According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2016 — the most recent year for which data is available — only 11 of the 127 people murdered with firearms that year were killed with rifles of any kind. Three were shot at a party in Mukilteo with a semi-auto rifle that would be targeted by the measure, but five others were killed at the Cascade Mall in Burlington by a madman using a .22-caliber rimfire taken from his step-father, so no background check was involved. The Mukilteo killer was 19 at the time and he passed a background check.
In 2015, according to FBI data, only three of the 141 homicides in the state involved rifles. That same year, 14 people were beaten to death and 18 were stabbed or slashed fatally.
The SeattleP-I.com noted that the initiative “would require a 10-day waiting period for purchasers. It would require an enhanced background check at time of purchase, with buyers showing they have completed a gun safety-training course.”
This announcement could fire up the crowd of Second Amendment activists.