To the Honorable Members of the Kirkland City Council,
Let me start by thanking you for the many hours of unpaid service you perform for our community. I realize it is pretty much a thankless job.
I disagree with the stance you recently took regarding I-591 and I-594. In the first place I don’t think our city council, as an elected body, should be taking a stance on statewide initiatives or any other measure on the ballot. What is next? The endorsement of candidates for office?
I-594 is a poorly written law that puts an unfair burden on law abiding gun owners. Even the supporters of I-594 admit there are flaws in the law but they claim they can be “fixed” by a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature. Do you really think you will ever get a 2/3 majority vote in the legislature on any issue?
For lack of space let’s concentrate on the most significant issue. (Although some would say the fact that I-594 creates a state registry of guns may be the most important) I-594 has been named by its supporters as “Closing the Gun Show Loophole Initiative”. Here are the facts regarding criminals purchasing guns at gun shows:
In each of several studies by the U.S. Department of Justice over the last 23 years, between 0.6 and 0.8 percent of state prison inmates incarcerated for gun crimes obtained guns at gun shows. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Guns Used in Crime, July 1995; Firearms Use by Offenders, November 2001; and Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, May 2013.) Most gun shows already have some form of rule in place that leads to a background check or verifies a background check has already been done. Washington Arms Collectors (WAC), who by far holds the largest and most significant gun shows twice monthly, requires buyers to either be a member of WAC, which requires a background check, or a holder of a Concealed Pistol License, which also requires a background check.
However, all that aside, the elephant in the room is this: You can pass all the laws you want regarding the transfer of firearms and the registration of same, but, the criminals won’t obey the laws. By definition a criminal is one who commits crimes for a living or as a way of life. How can anyone honestly believe that a criminal will choose to obey this law?