Alan Gottlieb is interviewed by KIRO News Essex Porter about gun control efforts in King County, WA. (Dave Workman)
A new Washington State gun control effort has been launched by a Democrat on the King County Council, and a pattern is emerging that suggests liberal politicians in that county – which encompasses Seattle and its suburbs – are mounting a concerted, and perhaps coordinated, effort to gut the state’s 35-year-old state preemption statute on firearms regulation, some gun rights activists suspect.
Promising to fight back is the Evergreen State’s most prominent Second Amendment advocate. Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told reporters Tuesday that his group will sue King County if it adopts a so-called “safe storage” mandate.
SAF and the National Rifle Association have already joined in a lawsuit against a “safe storage” ordinance recently adopted in Seattle, which is headquarters to the billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a gun control organization with ties to Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. While both organizations self-identify as “gun safety” groups, Second Amendment activists say they are really gun prohibition lobbying groups in disguise.
The term “gun safety” is tantamount to false advertising, activists contend.
Leading the new attack on state preemption is King County Councilman Joe McDermott, a former state legislator. He claimed during a media event Tuesday that, “Over 700 people across our state die of gun violence every year and we need more action from our state and federal government, and until we have that it’s incumbent on King County to do all we can to protect people residing here.” This was after the Seattle Times conveniently published his Op-Ed announcing his intentions.
However, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2015 and 2016, McDermott’s figure is erroneous, unless it includes suicides and accidents. In 2015, the FBI reported, there were 209 homicides in the state, of which 141 involved firearms. In 2016, the most recent year for which crime data is available, the FBI lists 195 homicides in the state, of which 127 involved firearms. Data for 2017 will not be available for several weeks.
More than two-thirds of firearms fatalities in Washington are suicides, but should they be combined with homicides to inflate the numbers?
The attack on preemption has spread to neighboring Snohomish County, where officials in Everett and Edmonds are also pushing local gun control efforts.
Gottlieb is not the only critic of McDermott’s gun control effort. According to KOMO, the local ABC affiliate, Wade Gaughran, owner of a major gun store and shooting range in Bellevue, ripped the proposal, especially as it would require gun shops to post signs warning about the alleged “health risks of firearms.” As Liberty Park Press reported Tuesday, this is in the same county that wants to open a “safe injection site” for drug addicts.
“They’re basically making me post signs that I don’t agree with, I don’t agree with their data, I don’t agree with their message they’re portraying and we’d have to do that anyways,” Gaughran told KOMO. Both Gaughran and Gottlieb say the county does not have the authority under the preemption law – which has served as a model for similar laws in other states – to pass gun control ordinances certain to raise “brushfire lawsuits” to defend the preemption law.