As the year winds down, there were several stories of interest in 2014, but a letter in yesterday’s Spokane Spokesman Review highlighted one of the top two gun news issues – passage of Initiative 594 – which promises to have long-term ripple effects nationally, setting a dangerous precedent by which deep-pocket anti-gunners can erode an important civil right.
Running a close second is the furor over so-called “smart gun” technology. This was highlighted yesterday by a story about perhaps the most prominent developer of the technology in yesterday’s Globe and Mail.
That man’s name is Ernst Mauch, and he just might be present for an international symposium on “smart guns” to be held in Seattle in late January. This column reported on that upcoming event last week, and both the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation have been invited.
Passage of I-594 was big news, not only in Washington but across the country. The election proved that big money from billionaire anti-gunners, including Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Nick Hanauer, Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen, can overwhelm the opposition and literally buy an election with slick, continual advertising. Second Amendment activists are convinced that local media deliberately downplayed law enforcement opposition and waited until after the votes were counted to acknowledge the measure was about gun control.
The headline in the Seattle Times election story, displayed as one of several prominent front pages in an on-line wrap-up, confirmed that I-594 “will be among the most strict in the U.S.” This came after months of arguing that I-594 would only amount to a minor inconvenience to gun buyers.
But problems with the measure are already surfacing. Gun rights activists gathered in Olympia earlier this month to openly defy the new requirements, only to have the Washington State Patrol declare somewhat unconvincingly that maybe the initiative didn’t mean what it clearly says about firearms “transfers.” The Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued what may be questionable advice to its network of volunteer hunter education instructors.
While some people have declared –under internet nicknames and typically without benefit of a law degree – that the measure is illegal and unconstitutional, that has yet to be determined in a court of law. That’s the only opinion that will count.
There may also be efforts to dull the impact of I-594 through legislation. At the same time, the gun prohibition lobby has an agenda of its own. Olympia could be a busy place next month.
On the “smart gun” front, headlines earlier this year revealed serious concerns among gun owners that anti-gunners will push to mandate the technology; that is, require manufacturers to only produce such firearms – except for law enforcement and the military – leaving private citizens with less-than-desirable tools for personal defense, home protection, hunting and competition.
Anti-gunners endeavored to misrepresent the position of Second Amendment groups and industry in the controversy. But this column, among others, revealed the truth.
Among the other “top gun stories” of 2014 was the merger/acquisition of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership by the Second Amendment Foundation. This merge was not without controversy that continues today, though JPFO now appears to be “a project” of SAF, much like Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.
The continuing increase of concealed carry permits and licenses across the country – by some estimates more than 11.1 million, including more than 475,000 in Washington State – illustrates that Americans are not on board with gun control, as anti-gunners might have people think. Recent polling by Pew bears this out. The Pew survey also revealed that those identified as “liberal Democrats” think it is more important to control gun ownership than protect the rights of gun owners.
Comedian Jay Leno’s abrupt cancellation of an appearance at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was a high-profile exercise of social bigotry. His replacement as headliner for the annual Industry Dinner by Bill Engvall has not been without criticism from some corners.
The October school shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School demonstrated yet again that “gun free school zone” laws, and other gun control measures, fail miserably to prevent such tragedies. Ditto the June shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore. Likewise, the slaying of two New York police officers proved that gun control laws do not keep guns out of criminal hands, and further proof came with the Sydney, Australia outrage earlier this month, in a nation with very strict gun laws.
SAF rolled up some court victories, in the Palmer case challenging the District of Columbia’s carry law, and in the Richards case in California. No doubt SAF, the National Rifle Association and others will remain active on the legal front in 2015.
As the year comes to an end, this column extends best wishes to all of its readers for a productive 2015. Thanks for reading, and especially for participating in some lively conversations over the past 12 months. We’re not finished, yet, either.
Update: Dan weighs in.
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