Two students were killed and four others were injured when freshman Jaylen Ray Fryberg opened fire in the cafeteria at Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, on Friday, NBC reported. Predictably, gun control advocates pounced on the news in an effort to advance their agenda. Among those who wasted no time politicizing the tragedy was the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In an email sent to yeahstub.com, the Brady Center used the shooting to push Initiative 594, a ballot measure that would extend background checks for gun sales and transfers.
“We are deeply troubled by today’s school shooting in Marysville, Washington,” said Brady Center president Dan Gross. “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Today’s events underscore this startling fact: For the last two decades, the rate of school shootings in Washington state was more than twice the national average.”
“Schools are supposed to be safe havens where children can learn, grow and achieve. Clearly, we as a nation need to do more to protect our children,” he added. “The specifics of today’s events remain under investigation. If it is like more than two-thirds of all school shootings, then the shooter got the gun from his own home or that of a relative.”
“If school shootings and other violent incidents at schools are to be stopped, the effort must begin at home,” he continued. “It starts with parents, who need to recognize the risks of guns in the home and make safer choices about gun access and storage.”
Gross also had a message for Washington voters who will decide two competing gun measures on the November ballot. “In addition, Washington voters can help make their state safer by voting for ballot measure 594 that will extend background checks to all gun sales and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people,” he said.
But it seems the shooter had other issues, judging from what is generally believed to be his Twitter feed, which the conservative blog Weasel Zippers said “reveals a deeply disturbed individual.” It seems Fryberg, who shot himself Friday, was “distraught over the end of a relationship he had with a girl at the school,” the blog added. A quick review of the profanity-laden Twitter account indicates Fryberg has been upset for quite some time.
“Your (sic) not gonna like what happens next,” he wrote on August 20 in one of the few tweets fit to quote here. “Your (sic) gonna (expletive deleted) me off… And then some (expletive deleted) gonna go down and I don’t think you’ll like it.”
“If I just laid down,” he said on October 21. “It won’t last…. It’ll never last,” he added in his last tweet, sent on Thursday.
Jaylen, ABC News added, was also a hunter, meaning he already had access to a firearm. That alone would indicate that stricter background checks would not have prevented him from obtaining and using a gun.
Examiner’s Dave Workman has covered the dueling measures extensively and said earlier this month that support for I-594 appears to be slipping, even though it still has more support than I-591. In response, he added, anti-gun Michael Bloomberg, known as “Nanny Bloomberg” by many, “kicked in another $650,000” to prop up the initiative, making his group one of the top contributors to the campaign.
While the measure is supported by anti-gun millionaires, Workman said that at least 18 county sheriffs are voting against it. “Examiner has learned via e-mail that there are now apparently a dozen Eastern Washington sheriffs and half again as many on the Westside who are now opposed to I-594,” he added.
Worse yet, a post at Washington Arms Collectors says the measure is far more onerous than advocates claim. According to editor Phil Shave, the measure would require criminal background checks for transfers as well as sales. “Transfer,” the 18-page initiative says, “means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.” Technically, handing a gun to a relative or a gunsmith for repair would require the background check. Failure to do so would be a criminal offense.
“I-594 re-writes Washington law to make transfer violations the equivalent of RCW ‘serious offenses’ such as rape, drive by shootings and vehicular homicide,” he said. “The I-594 class C felony conviction for failing to do the transfer paperwork will result in the loss of your civil rights, including the loss of the right to vote and possess firearms.”
“594 is not designed to keep guns from criminals or reduce crime; it is intended to create overwhelming obstacles to the private possession and use of firearms,” Shave explained. “I-594 targets recreational shooters, competitors, hobbyists and collectors.” The answer, he concluded, is passage of the competing measure, Initiative 591.