LAS VEGAS — The good citizens of Coupeville — that town up on Whidbey Island now in the headlines for the questionably-legal decision to ban firearms retail stores within 1,000 feet of a school — need to spend some time at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, where the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show wraps up today.
Lacking time to get here, maybe a drive to Puyallup this weekend is in order, for the monthly Washington Arms Collectors’ gun show at the fairgrounds.
Both the on-line SeattlePI.com and Whidbey News-Times are reporting the Coupeville story.
If not the citizens, then at least members of the town council and Town Planner Larry Kwarsick should be required to spend a couple of days at the SHOT Show, during which they would presumably: a) Try to explain their paranoia about a perfectly legal commercial enterprise that would contribute tax revenue to the community, and, b) Get an education in common sense from tens of thousands of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers who attend this annual event.
Town Planner Larry Kwarsick said the idea for the gun sale ordinance arose when a person several weeks ago inquired about the possibility of opening a sporting goods store on South Main Street. The sporting goods store would have sold guns. He said a formal application was never filed at Town Hall.
Readers of the on-line newspapers are weighing in and they appear unanimously to have more brains individually than the town council does collectively. As one critic of the gun sales ban observed, you get the government you elect.
The ban just might be in violation of the state preemption statute. If there is a lawsuit, the taxpayers will get an opportunity to pay the legal bills for sorting that one out.
One would think the town council has gone bats. Are they fearful that children will start lining up to purchase firearms? Children cannot legally buy guns from retailers, but who cares? Coupeville is making “a statement.”
Kwarsick already made one that leaves us scratching our heads: “I just felt it was of paramount importance.” Oh? Why?
Maybe he is concerned that children will get the impression that firearm sales are okay. What an awful revelation about a constitutionally protected civil right. We simply mustn’t expose young minds to the notion that firearms are part of a normal life.
Are there currently any taverns or restaurants that sell alcohol by the drink within 1,000 feet of Coupeville’s elementary, middle and high schools? How about a grocery or convenience store that sells cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products, or beer and wine? Do you suppose anyone living within that radius might own a gun? How many of those students live in homes where firearms are present? Has Kwarsick got any data about the number of families that hunt, shoot targets, keep firearms for protection in his community? (Psst, don’t let Larry know, but Coupeville is rumored to have some members of the National Rifle Association lurking around. “Hey, kid, wanna take a firearms safety course?”)
“I just felt it was of paramount importance.”—Town Planner Larry Kwarsick
For the past few days, this column has been within 1,000 feet of maybe 10,000 firearms and suffered nary a scratch. We have had conversations with hundreds of people for whom gun ownership is not merely a business, but a tradition that is part of the basic American fabric. They care about their country, and they especially care about leaving its government in the hands of hoplophobes to whom “gun” is a four-letter word.
The social do-gooders want to change that. If they want to see how well that might work out, we suggest vacations to Third World countries where freedom and civil rights are unfathomable concepts.
What appears to be at work here is the official government practice of social bigotry. The town council and its planner have decided that a sporting goods store may be a bad influence because among the baseball bats and gloves, basketballs, footballs, running shoes, jerseys and gym shorts there might also be a firearm and ammunition for sale.
That’s not common sense. That’s nonsense.
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