The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2017 is out, and for Washington State gun prohibitionists, there is a bit of bad news in relation to the initiative they are pushing that clamps down on so-called “assault rifles.”
This comes after a major statewide law enforcement group took a position against Initiative 1639 on its website. In a statement, the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association had this to say:
“The WSLEFIA finds that I-1639 is an attack on civil rights and is an attempt to marginalize all firearm owners, including law enforcement officers. I-1639 will impair public safety, embolden criminals and impose burdensome restrictions on our most law-abiding citizens.”—WSLEFIA
According to the FBI report, released on Monday, the Evergreen State recorded a single homicide last year that was confirmed to have been committed with a rifle of any kind. There was also one homicide connected to a shotgun. Out of the 228 homicides reported last year, 134 were reportedly committed with handguns.
There were 57 slayings involving a gun that was not identified. However, if the statistical pattern that has existed for decades holds true, only a couple of those killings involved rifles or shotguns.
Yet, backers of Initiative 1639 claim that so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” need to be strictly regulated. The minimum age limit to buy or own one of those guns needs to be raised to 21. The definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle” must apply to all self-loaders, including popular .22-caliber models such as the Browning SA-22, Marlin Model 60 and Ruger 10/22 because they all fit this description, found at the bottom of Page 27 of the 30-page, multi-faceted measure:
“’Semiautomatic assault rifle’ means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”
As Liberty Park Press earlier noted, the authors of I-1639 appear to have simply cut-and-pasted language from federal statute used to define “semiautomatic rifles” and merely inserted the word “assault” to demonize and capture all such firearms.
There is a growing and energetic grassroots effort to defeat the initiative. It involves public education, doorbelling, workshops, plus typical yard signs, handouts, posters and larger billboard-type advertising. Pro-rights activists are doing all of this on a shoestring budget, all over the state.
Washingtonians and the National Rifle Assn for Freedom has raised $183,719, of which $144,248.28 has been spent, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Another $25,668.81 has been raised by the separate Save Our Security group, which has spent $14,183.41, the PDC says.
Compare that to the whopping $4.5 million already raised by the anti-rights Safe Schools/Safe Communities backers of I-1639. They have already spent $4.39 million, so complaints about the “gun lobby” contributing big bucks to defeat their measure are wildly exaggerated.
Nationally, according to the FBI report, rifles of any kind are identified as the murder weapon in 403 of the 10,982 gun-related homicides recorded last year. There were 3,283 slayings in which the firearm was not identified, but it is likely few of those involved rifles of any kind, including so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.”
So the question for Washington voters remains: How is demonizing and over-regulating such firearms going to reduce violent crime?
As Alan Korwin, the Arizona-based author and Second Amendment advocate noted at last weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago, there is no such thing as “gun violence.” The problem is crime. More laws restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens will not provide a solution, gun owners insist.
This may be why WSLEFIA has come out in opposition to I-1639. The lower right corner of their website lists 19 different problems WSLEFIA has with this billionaire-backed measure. They are worth reading.