UPDATED: Evergreen State gun prohibitionists moved quickly to exploit the tragic hate crime shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in their effort to justify gun control Initiative 1639, a proposal they now claim in a fund-raising email blast would “address the root causes of mass shootings.”
Saturday’s shooting left 11 people dead and others, including four police officers, injured. The suspect is described as “a Trump-hating anti-Semite who regularly complained on social media about the president and ‘the infestation of Jews.’”
A week ago, I-1639 was all about keeping guns out of the hands of young adults who might shoot up schools. Now it is the mechanism to “keep weapons of war out of deadly, racist, extremist hands.”
Because the suspect in this case is 46 years old, even if I-1639 were the law in Pennsylvania, it would not have prevented him from legally purchasing the rifle and three handguns authorities recovered at the crime scene. I-1639 seeks to prohibit citizens aged 18-20 years old from buying so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.”
According to published reports, the suspect has no criminal record, so he would have cleared any background check.
In the midst of this, KOMO – the ABC affiliate in Seattle – broadcast a report Sunday about a Marine who is campaigning in support of I-1639. The story, headlined “Tacoma Marine campaigning for Washington’s gun control measure,” offers only brief mention about the five state law enforcement organizations opposed to the measure. I-1639’s grassroots opponents have been flooding KOMO’s Facebook page with criticism about the report.
UPDATE: There will be an opportunity for television cameras to cover door-to-door canvassing by I-1639 opponents later this week in Bellevue. According to Washingtonians and National Rifle Association for Freedom, neighborhood canvassing will occur daily Nov. 1-4.
Meanwhile, Open Secrets revealed that Second Amendment groups are being vastly outspent this year by gun control groups. That’s the same pattern nationally as in Washington State, where the gun prohibition lobby has outspent I-1639 opponents more than 10 to 1.
This is the final week of campaigning, and many if not most of those voting against I-1639 are apparently also voting against I-940, the initiative that would make it easier to prosecute police officers involved in shootings.
It appears that I-1639 has brought Washington gun owners out of their typical lethargy, and they are typically strong supporters of law enforcement. Their votes may make a difference in legislative and congressional races as well.
The 30-page initiative is opposed not only by rank-and-file police and sheriff’s deputies, but at least four individual county sheriffs on both sides of the state have come out in opposition. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie D. Knezovich even appears in a video that l0oks at gun owner opposition to the measure.
If I-1639 passes, it will make Washington’s gun laws among the strictest in the country. Backers of the measure have already declared that it will provide a model for similar gun control efforts in other states.