When the Tacoma City Council voted last night to support an 18-page gun control measure, the vote was not unanimous, and remarks from a dissenting councilman just might guide voters in the City of Destiny more than the good intentions of Mayor Marilyn Strickland, a member of the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).
There are about 30 Washington mayors in that gun control organization, according to the MAIG website. Some of those members might surprise their constituents, including Morton, Snoqualmie, Mesa, Liberty Lake, Pe Ell, Prosser, Twisp and Entiat.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Strickland said, “I do not see a downside to doing something like this to help move our city forward and to increase safety.” But the newspaper also revealed that Strickland admitted that Initiative 594, which pushes so-called “universal background checks,” would not prevent “determined buyers,” which translates to criminals who ignore the law, from getting their hands on firearms.
But it was Councilman Joe Lonergan, who was the lone vote against the endorsement resolution, who reflected the sentiments of I-594 opponents, including two of the state’s largest and most respected law enforcement organizations. While acknowledging that the measure reflects “good intentions” – the stuff from which, according to legend, the road to Hell is paved – Lonergan reportedly predicted that if it passes, it will “take otherwise law-abiding citizens and turn them into criminals.”
“I believe there are a lot of other ways to ensure guns are not getting into the hands of people who should not have them,” Lonergan said, according to the News Tribune report.
Another council member, David Boe, abstained from voting. The newspaper said he called I-594 “flawed,” and that he is opposed to its language, while he is not opposed to background checks. Not surprisingly, that’s essentially the same position taken by other opponents, including gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), and Phil Shave, retired chief of law enforcement for State Parks and currently the executive director of the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC).
CCRKBA and WAC are part of the Protect Our Gun Rights coalition, which is pushing rival Initiative 591. That simple one-page measure prohibits government gun confiscation without due process, and mandates that background checks done in Washington comply with a uniform national standard. I-591 proponents contend that their measure protects the integrity of the current background check without criminalizing legal activities, such as loaning firearms to friends or in-laws.
I-594 is opposed by the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) and several individual county sheriffs. They have endorsed I-591, a fact that has gotten very little attention from the mainstream press.
The initiative battle has already gotten national attention, and more is undoubtedly on the way. With backing from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying organization, many believe I-594 is being used to develop a blueprint for similar efforts in every other state with the citizen initiative process. An effort is already underway in Nevada, and next year could see an effort in Oregon and other states.