Vice President Joe “buy-a-shotgun” Biden will be in Seattle today and Thursday to speak and help raise funds for Sen. Maria Cantwell, and he will be flying into a politically stormy environment where Seattle Times readers are currently engaged in a feisty debate about a gun control initiative ignited by a column first posted yesterday afternoon.
The column, by veteran Times writer Danny Westneat, talks about a gun sale, the likes of which he intimates could be prevented by Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control scheme backed strongly by Seattle-area wealthy elitists and anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. Westneat even has a hot link to the Northwest Firearms forum and a discussion more than two years ago about private gun sales.
But critics say I-594 is about a lot more than restricting private firearms sales, and they are right. The measure would require paperwork on all firearms transfers, as defined at the bottom of Page 6 of the initiative. There are some narrow exemptions, but none for holders of concealed pistol licenses, which already require background checks, or even in-laws.
By no small coincidence, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), who once served on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, has published a column at Town Hall about how people like Biden oppose voter identification laws while demanding all kinds of identification confirmation for those exercising the right to keep and bear arms. Barr observes that this right is “expressly guaranteed in the Constitution,” and that, for gun prohibitionists, “Apparently our Second Amendment rights are just not ‘precious’ enough to worry about when governments engage in actions expressly designed to ‘disenfranchise’ individuals from exercising those rights.”
Barr offers an intriguing, if not provocative, argument for Second Amendment rights. He dares people to imagine the reaction from the left if voter identification laws suddenly became as “rigorous as gun regulations found in many of America’s major cities.” These gun laws discriminate against the poor and minorities because of excessive costs involved.
That brings the argument back to I-594, which would require a background check costing anywhere from $35 to $50 or more for each transfer of a firearm, including temporary loans. Not only is there a check to loan the gun, a check would be required to get it back, costing another $35-$50 or more, critics have argued.
One reason people loan firearms is for personal protection and one reason people borrow them is because they cannot afford to rush out and buy one in an emergency. Say you want to loan a gun to your sister-in-law because your brother is on deployment or out of town on a work assignment. I-594 has an exemption that is at best nebulous. Such a loan is okay so long as the “temporary transfer only lasts as long as immediately necessary.” What does that mean, exactly? Who or what determines just how long “immediately necessary” lasts, an hour, overnight, a week or a month?
Biden would simply tell her to “buy a double barrel shotgun” and if there is a problem, to take the gun outside on the balcony (everyone has an exterior balcony at home, don’t they?) and fire a couple of shots. In this state, that’s an illegal discharge of a firearm in most neighborhoods.
The vice president should skip Cantwell’s fund raiser, and instead stop by the Bellevue offices of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. He can talk about shotguns, and he might even get a bumper sticker urging people to vote No on I-594 and in favor of rival Initiative 591, which is supported by rank-and-file law enforcement, several county sheriffs, hunters, collectors, competitors and several state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.