Washington State gun rights activists are hitting the ground running as the 2018 legislative session looms, with a pro-rights rally scheduled Friday, Jan. 12, and they’ve even got a draft letter to circulate among lawmakers in Olympia.
This comes as the state Department of Licensing data shows that more than 19,270 new concealed pistol licenses were added to the state rolls in 2017.
Two issues are at the top of the list for the Second Amendment community, as detailed in this letter:
Preemption – Currently, all gun laws are defined at the state level which is as it should be. A drive by Seattle to remove preemption and allow cities and others to create their own gun laws would wreak havoc against the law abiding. It would not stop criminals (who care nothing about laws or restrictions) but a person who was by example, a legal concealed carry holder could travel from one set of laws to another merely driving one town over.
Ban on “Assault Weapons” and Magazine Capacity – First, the term assault weapon is a made-up term by the anti-gun groups for fear and shock value. Any gun can be an assault weapon just as any can be a defense weapon. It is the intent of the holder to use them as such. We do not have an issue here in our State with any specific type of weapon or magazine capacity nor does banning those prevent criminal behavior. All it does is impair and infringe on the law abiding citizen’s rights and in fact, increases the chance of them being harmed as proven by The Department of Justice’s own study titled “Guns in America” which shows unequivocal evidence that firearms are used as defensive means 30 to 40 times more than criminal usage and “when a robbery victim does not defend themselves, the robber succeeds 88% of the time and the victim injured seriously 25%” while “when a victim resists with a gun, the rate of robbery success falls to 20% and victim injury rate falls to 17%”.
What the letter doesn’t mention, and probably should, is that rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of homicides, nationally and in Washington State. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2014-2016 (the report for 2017 will not be released until September 2018), Evergreen State criminals rarely use rifles of any kind to commit murder.
In 2016, of the 195 reported slayings, 127 involved firearms. Of that number, only 11 involved rifles, although there were 42 fatal shootings in which the type of firearm was not specified.
The previous year saw 209 homicides, of which 141 involved firearms, and only three of those were rifles. That year saw 49 gun-related slayings in which the type of firearm was unspecified.
In 2014, the story was about the same. There were 172 murders of which 94 involved guns and only six of those were identified as rifles of any kind. That year there were 30 unspecified guns used in the slayings.
Based on these statistics, it is unlikely that more than a handful of the “unspecified” firearms in any of these years were rifles of any kind and that includes so-called “assault rifles,” which are actually semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, or “MSRs.”
Washington is no slouch when it comes to gun ownership. The Department of Licensing report Tuesday morning noted that the year wrapped up with 590,749 active CPLs. That’s down 617 licenses from those that were active on Dec. 1, but it hardly means interest in concealed carry has plateaued.
Last year began with 571,476 active CPLs, and over the past 12 months, that number increased. It holds with the pattern that has been the case over the past few years. At the end of 2015, the state reported 509,578 active CPLs, so over the course of two years (2016 and 2017), Washington added a whopping 81,171 active CPLs, with the big surge being in 2016, when terror attacks and the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency were both high on the minds of gun owners and people who suddenly decided to become gun owners.
Passage of Initiative 594 in 2014 has so far not demonstrably prevented guns from falling into the wrong hands, or the commission of any violent crimes. With talk of more gun control on the horizon now that Democrats control the Legislature, the number of CPLs may continue to climb.