The Kitsap Sun today joins a lineup of Washington State newspapers whose editorial boards have sided against a growing number of county sheriffs, thousands of law enforcement professionals and legions of law-abiding citizens by supporting Initiative 594, which another newspaper, the Longview Daily News, is recommending be rejected.
The Daily News is also recommending a “No” vote on Initiative 591, which is supported by law enforcement groups, but only because – perhaps to the shock of other newspaper editorial writers – “We’re also comfortable with Washington’s current level of gun controls and the idea that they were set and approved by Washingtonians. We wouldn’t want to see them loosened or tightened by a vote in Congress.”
As of today, 26 of the state’s 39 county sheriffs are on record opposed to Initiative 594, the 18-page, billionaire-backed gun control measure that has brought out the worst in some people, including a former Bellevue city councilwoman who got caught stealing an I-591 campaign sign. Examiner broke the story that has turned into something of a national issue – it has now been covered by Reuters – and this column can now reveal that this case started thanks to a sharp-eyed Examiner reader in Bellevue, who saw the sign theft go down and promptly called police.
That reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, was also interviewed yesterday by KOMO’s Lindsay Cohen, who spoke with Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and spokesman for Protect Our Gun Rights, the group behind I-591. KOMO, KIRO and the Seattle Times have all reported the sign theft flap, which could result in theft charges against former councilwoman Margot Blacker.
Since speaking to Examiner earlier this week, Blacker has clammed up, perhaps embarrassed about admitting to police that she intended to steal more signs. Attempts by the other news outlets to contact Blacker have been unsuccessful. Only Examiner appears to have been able to chat with her.
While newspapers are taking sides against law enforcement on this issue, the Longview Daily News possibly laid out the best arguments why those other papers’ editorial pages have it wrong. Here’s why the Daily News is opposed to I-594:
- It’s been over-amended as proponents kept adding special exemptions when weaknesses in the bill were identified.
- It sets up confusing, “gray area” situations, many of them involved with temporary loans of firearms from one person to another, that could make criminals out of responsible gun owners.
- Most law enforcement agencies in the state are opposed, perhaps because they’d be confronted with a mandate to perform additional background checks without being granted the money to oversee the new requirements.
- We don’t feel it will accomplish what its backers say it will.
Two nights ago, KTTH hosted a Freedom debate on guns and the dueling initiatives. During that discussion, Ralph Fascitelli, president of Washington CeaseFire made some interesting remarks and one interesting observation. Fascitelli considers Gottlieb a friend, as he does the National Rifle Association’s state lobbyist, Brian Judy. Fascitelli predicted that the election will be “very close,” and that “if the NRA came spending money on this, they probably could have beaten 594.”
That’s an interesting presumption, considering that the votes haven’t yet been counted, and with a final week to go, who’s to say the NRA isn’t waiting in the tall grass? According to the Gun Rights Coalition Facebook page, the NRA is organizing volunteers Saturday for doorbelling efforts in Spokane, Walla Walla, Richland, Yakima, Wenatchee, Snohomish, Oak Harbor, Port Angeles and Ferndale, focusing on “No” votes against 594. NRA has taken no position on I-591.
But there was more. Fascitelli, in what some people might think is a fit of fancy, if not delusion, had this to say about gun dealers and I-594 at 37 minutes into the discussion: “Lemme tell you who’s in favor of universal background checks more than anybody else. Gun dealers. ‘Cause it’s a lot more business for them. People going to come in their door, and yet you don’t see any gun dealer speaking up on behalf of I-594 because of the threat of the NRA coming down on them.”
POGR is hitting the airwaves with advertising supporting I-591. The organization has placed thousands of yard signs in places where they haven’t been stolen, though Gottlieb confirmed to KOMO yesterday that he gets constant reports of signs vanishing. The other day he quipped, “First, they want to steal our guns, and now they’re stealing our signs.”
Voting is already underway, and this weekend’s Puyallup gun show will find thousands of those voters gathered for a final push to get ballots in the mail. A lot of other voters, who have already mailed their ballots, will be in elk camps across the east slope of the Cascades for Saturday’s opener.
It’s going to be a very long 11 days. The billionaires and their elitist allies have poured a fortune into buying the election. November 4 will determine whether the sale has been made.