Anti-gun Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, both liberal Evergreen State Democrats, have some explaining to do after announcing their support for “public, supervised sites where addicts can use heroin,” as reported by the Seattle Times Friday.
The body count for “heroin-involved deaths” in King County exceeds the statewide toll of firearms-related murders. Yet here are two public officials supporting a “task force” recommendation to essentially enable heroin users while both have publicly backed gun control measures to restrict the rights of gun owners.
Perhaps Murray and Constantine should be asked whether they would support creating public shooting ranges where new gun owners could learn firearms safety. That might make more of a dent in untimely deaths than supporting “shooting galleries” where junkies can get “safely” high.
According to the front page Seattle Times story, in 2014, King County – where Seattle is located – logged 156 heroin-related deaths. That same year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were 94 firearms-related homicides in all of Washington State.
In 2013, the newspaper noted, King County saw 99 heroin-related fatalities. The FBI crime report for that year says all of Washington State saw 86 firearms-related murders.
The FBI uniform crime report for 2015 will be released later this month. Last year, according to the newspaper, there were 132 heroin-related deaths in King County.
There is more. A breakdown of the gun-related homicides shows – much to the detriment of the current push for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” – that in 2014, only six of those homicides involved rifles of any kind. In 2013, according to the FBI report, none of the gun-related homicides involved a rifle.
For the “benefit of doubt,” the FBI report also notes that firearms of an unknown type were used in 30 of the 2014 slayings, and 32 “unknown” firearms were used in murders investigated in 2013.
So, is it fair to ask whether Murray or Constantine will support fellow Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson when he pushes for a ban on “assault rifles” next year?
Murray, it should be recalled, was a prime sponsor of an embarrassing piece of gun ban legislation while he served in the state Senate three years ago. At that time, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reported that Murray’s bill to ban “assault weapons” contained a provision that would have allowed sheriff’s deputies to enter private homes, without a warrant, to snoop around just to see if someone’s firearms were properly stored.
Murray and his co-sponsors had to admit they didn’t even see that provision in their own legislation. They blamed “unnamed staff” for adding the tenet.
Last year, Murray signed a “gun violence tax” ordinance that assesses $25 for the sale of each firearm in the city, a nickel per centerfire cartridge and two cents per rimfire cartridge. Critics say the ordinance was designed to drive gun retailers out of the city. Now he’s backing a plan that could, say critics, attract heroin addicts.