Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has revealed plans to revive his gun control agenda for the 2018 legislative session, and he is once again declaring his push to ban so-called “assault rifles” a matter of “public safety,” according to the Aberdeen Daily World.
But the FBI Uniform Crime Reports over the past several years essentially derail that argument, because in Washington, and across the nation, rifles of any kind account for a small fraction of all homicides.
In 2016, when 127 slayings were committed with firearms, only 11 are known to have involved rifles and this includes the three victims killed at a Mukilteo teen party and five murdered at the Cascade Mall with a .22-caliber rifle that could not possibly be described as an “assault rifle.”
The previous year, of the 141 homicides involving firearms, only three involved rifles of any kind.
Back in 2014, according to the FBI report for that year, of the 94 slayings involving firearms, only six were committed with firearms identified as rifles.
On the national level, Ferguson will still have some explaining to do, provided anyone in the State Legislature pays attention to the FBI data.
Ferguson, who many believe is already running to succeed Jay Inslee as the next in a 30-plus year string of Democrats in the governor’s office, is working hard to shore up his liberal base. Going after guns is a sure way to win votes in Seattle, but it may not help him much east of the mountains, down in southwest counties or over on the Olympic Peninsula.
He comes from the same liberal mold as other ambitious left-leaning politicians: hard on guns, harder on President Donald Trump.
According to the story, Ferguson also wants to prohibit magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and, short of a ban on semi-auto sport-utility rifles (aka “modern sporting rifles”), he would require that purchase of such firearms be restricted to those age 21 and over, just like a handgun. Ferguson told the newspaper, “If you want to buy a handgun, you have to be 21 and go through a waiting period before you take it home.”
Under existing federal law, rifles and shotguns may be purchased by anyone age 18 or older. Ferguson may have to explain to curious lawmakers what makes Evergreen State young adults different from people the same age anywhere else in the country, especially if those lawmakers are military veterans who enlisted straight out of high school.
Possibly not to his credit, Ferguson accused state lawmakers who rejected his agenda this past January of cowardice.
“I’ll say it,” the anti-gun attorney general told the newspaper, “the politicians are just too damn scared. I say bring this legislation to a vote and let your constituents know where you stand.”
It’s no secret to the constituency, especially the 590,000-plus Washington residents who have concealed pistol licenses, where Ferguson stands.