Seatttleites are showing that the Tucson shooting has had a major impact locally, holding a memorial Thursday evening at Westlake Park that did not become a launch pad for some symbolic call for more gun control.
By no small coincidence, results from two national polls released yesterday say most Americans doubt tougher gun laws would prevent incidents like the Tucson, AZ shooting, and visits to their home districts Wednesday by Evergreen State Congressmen Rick Larsen and Jay Inslee suggest they agree with those poll results, despite a death threat to Seattle Rep. Jim McDermott.
A California man was arrested Wednesday in the McDermott case. This column has consistently criticized the anti-gun McDermott, but in this case he is showing considerable grace under political fire.
Most Americans say stronger gun control laws are not the answer to the shootings last weekend of a U.S. congresswoman and the killing of six others.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, taken Monday and Tuesday nights, finds that only 29% of Adults think stricter gun control laws would help prevent shootings like the one in Arizona last Saturday. Sixty-two percent (62%) disagree and say stronger gun control would not make a difference. (To see survey question wording, click here.)—Rasmussen Poll
Both Gallup and Rasmussen surveys, taken after last Saturday’s assassination attempt on a pro-gun Democrat colleague of Inslee and Larsen – Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – show continued low support for tougher gun laws despite the shooting that left six people dead. This column discussed that shooting here, here and here.
According to Rasmussen, 62 percent of American adults say stronger gun control laws would have made no difference in Saturday’s attack. Only 29 percent of those surveyed said tougher laws would have had an impact. They also do not believe political rhetoric or anger was responsible.
The Gallup results were even stronger, with 72 percent of survey respondents rejecting the notion that stricter laws would have prevented the shooting, while only one in five people said tougher laws would have mattered.
Amid all of this, as noted the other day, at least two members of Congress have revealed they carry guns when back in their districts. Yesterday, Republican Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert said he will draft a measure allowing members of Congress to pack guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol building.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% of Adults say the shooting
in Arizona was the result of political anger in the country. Fifty-eight percent (58%) say instead that it was a random act of violence by an unstable person. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans and 56% of adults not affiliated with either of the major political parties view the shooting as a random act of violence. Even Democrats by a 48% to 37% margin agree, although leading members of their party have attributed the shootings to a climate of anger they say has been generated by opponents of President Obama.—Rasmussen Poll
Before Gohmert gets too excited about this, someone from the Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and/or the National Rifle Association just might remind him that thousands of District of Columbia residents don’t have that same luxury.
Gohmert and his pro-gun colleagues might take a lesson from the “other” Washington, where state lawmakers and private citizens can already carry firearms on the Capitol campus, and have done so without incident for many years. Last year’s Open Carry turnout in Olympia at a hearing on a short-lived proposal to ban so-called “assault weapons” – about which this column wrote here, here, here and here – demonstrated that armed citizens can be safe, courteous and downright photogenic. They posed a threat to nobody (despite what panicked Ralph Fascitelli from Washington CeaseFire seemed to think) and Gohmert ought to make his “fraidy-cat” colleague Republican New York Rep. Peter King of the 1,000-foot gun-free-zone proposal aware of this.
Most Americans, though, do not believe tougher gun laws in Arizona would have prevented these shootings. One in five say stricter laws would have prevented the tragedy, while 72% disagree. Democrats, who are more likely to support gun restrictions, are also more likely to believe the shootings could have been prevented if tougher gun laws were in place, but a majority of this group still says the shootings would have occurred regardless.—Gallup Poll
My advice to King: Come out here to the real Washington. Plan your visit to coincide with Jim Beal’s Open Carry barbecue down in Seatac. Rub elbows with gun-toting “everyday people.” Be safer here than you’ve ever been on your own in The Big Apple.
Of course, the other side has been vocal as well, often using contradictory logic. The most recent example is in this morning’s Seattle Times, where syndicated columnist Nicholas Kristof acknowledges that more children drown than die from gunshot wounds, but he still wants to regulate firearms “as seriously as we regulate automobiles or toys.” This week, I’ve spoken with at least three different New York Times reporters – Kristof is based at the NYTimes – and explained the difference between regulating a product and regulating a constitutionally-protected individual civil right.
But I’ll meet Kristof halfway, just as soon as my Washington Concealed Pistol License is recognized in New York City same as my Washington driver’s license would be. When I can stroll through Times Square, or the District of Columbia packing a pistol without fear of arrest or even an unwanted conversation with a beat cop, then and only then we might have something to discuss.
It’s also true that city slickers sometimes exaggerate the risk of any one gun. The authors of Freakonomics noted that a home with a swimming pool is considerably more dangerous for small children than a home with a gun. They said that one child drowns annually for every 11,000 residential pools, but one child is shot dead for every 1 million-plus guns.—Nicholas Kristof
Yesterday’s column proposing a ten-point shift in management for the Department of Fish and Wildlife as an alternative to merging the agency with the Parks Commission and Natural Resources law enforcement division is getting support on two popular hunting forums, here and here.
Coincidentally, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation reports that Washington is one of the two top states for new member recruitment in 2010 – the other is Oregon – which is significant. RMEF President David Allen reports that this growth can be attributed to several factors, not the least of which is the organization’s highly vocal stance on wolf reintroduction and associated predation on elk herds.
That hits a raw nerve with a lot of the Evergreen State’s diminishing hunters (check out yesterday’s column and look at the historical data here) because of the agency’s suspiciously excited attention being paid to wolves up in the Methow Valley over the past couple of years. Our mule deer seasons have been reduced and opportunities diminished by the 3-point antler restriction, and a fair number of hunters wonder whether they aren’t being seen as competitors for the available mule deer resource that is also targeted by a growing cougar population.
RMEF is holding its annual “Elk Camp” convention March 3-6 at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, NV.
Allen and RMEF have taken an aggressive stand against unchecked wolf population expansion.
“We are engaged alongside many other sportsman and agriculture groups in the fight to control wolves,” he said, “and we will stay engaged until wolves are managed and controlled as they should be–by the states. There is no room left for compromise or complacency on this issue.”
I’ll be reporting from Las Vegas next week, where I will be on assignment covering the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show.
PLEASE FORWARD the link to this column and share with all of your chat lists and forums
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE by clicking on the link above
And Don’t forget to visit:
VISIT THESE GUN RIGHTS EXAMINERS ON-LINE:
Atlanta Ed Stone | Austin Howard Nemerov | Boston Ron Bokleman | Charlotte Paul Valone | Cheyenne Anthony Bouchard | Chicago Don Gwinn | Cleveland Daniel White | DC Mike Stollenwerk | Denver Dan Bidstrup | Des Moines Sean McClanahan |Detroit Rob Reed | Fort Smith Steve D. Jones | Knoxville Liston Matthews | Los Angeles John Longenecker | Minneapolis John Pierce | National Dan | Seattle Dave Workman | St. Louis Kurt Hofmann | Tucson Chris Woodard
SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION
‘Winning Firearms Freedom One Lawsuit at a Time’
CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age
These Dogs Don’t Hunt: The Democrats’ War on Guns
Assault on Weapons: The Campaign to Eliminate Your Guns
Washington State Gun Rights and Responsibilities