My two cents on the gun initiative

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  VeganBiker 5 years, 11 months ago.

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    Life is amazing

    Well, being the bleeding heart liberal that I am, my stance on guns is often surprising to people. I am a big believer is a citizens right to own a gun. I also think our gun laws are ridicules and don’t address what either side wants.

    This initiative is just extending the background checks we already have to gun shows and private sales so I don’t see an argument against passing it. I also don’t think it will do what people think it will.

    The arguments I have are with the original background check law that this initiative is just an extension of.

    The “mentally ill” reference is too vague and could easily be construed to include people it shouldn’t
    it doesn’t do a thing to address the shootings in the schools etc
    it doesn’t do a thing about what I think does need to happen regarding guns in this country. Mandatory education for gun owners

    It says
    “There is broad consensus that felons,
    persons convicted of domestic violence crimes, and persons dangerously
    mentally ill as determined by a court should not be eligible to
    possess guns for public safety reasons.”

    It goes into great length to define every bit of everything said down to what the word “loaded” means but does not define what would be considered “persons dangerously mentally ill as determined by a court”

    Does that mean an individual person has to be determined to be dangerous by the court? or will it be an illness that is determined to be dangerous by the court and therefore anyone who falls in that category is precluded from buying a gun? Big difference and not clear.

    Does this mean a person who has been diagnosed with depression or bi-polar could be precluded from owning a gun? I know too many people that have had depression or are bi-polar that are as stable as anyone else. Myself included.

    The biggest problem, in my opinion, about this particular opportunity to vote about guns is that it seems to miss the point. I don’t see how the original law or these additions will address the shootings that are being used as examples of why we need it – Sandyhook etc.

    I’ve never read where the owners of the guns used in those shootings were criminals or mentally ill and were able to buy them without a background check or that the kids that did the shooting had been diagnosed with anything prior to the incident. And, if they had been, it wouldn’t have made a difference because they didn’t buy the guns.

    Yes I think there should be criminal background checks to keep felons from legally buying guns (although it’s my guess that felons get guns easily other ways so I don’t know how much good it will do) but we’re fooling ourselves if we think this particular law will help us avoid those particular type of shootings. I wish I knew what kind of law would but I don’t.

    What I do want is a law that says you have to take a class on proper usage and safety and pass it to buy a gun. We have no laws that address that.

    People buy them, don’t know how or are not willing to use them and it gets taken from them and they get shot with their own gun.

    People need to be drilled on how to keep them safe because we all know what happens when they get into the wrong hands.

    I think that this law is something that will make people feel like we’ve done something to keep our kids safer when we haven’t

    I’ll vote for it because not voting for it won’t change the things that bug me about the current gun laws but to be blunt it seems like another knee jerk law that we vote for.

    Anything that has “parks” “gun control” “education” or “kids” in the talking points gets voted for regardless of what it will actually do just like when we voted to put in a bunch of new parks when the parks we already had had to close down the kids programs for lack of funds.

    OK. I’m done.



    I’m coming at it from the opposite direction – I tend to lean conservative on stuff like this. Despite my reservations about what, if anything, this will accomplish, I voted for it, if only to stop the complaining about the “gun show loophole”.

    The initiative is badly written, open to some really bizarre interpretations, and likely will not stand up in large part when inevitably challenged, but those who insist that we Do Something will be ameliorated for a little while, at least.

    The pesky US Constitution gets in the way of being required to take a safety class – “Congress shall make no law…” is really unambiguous, especially when compared to the rest of the 2nd Amendment. Theoretically, if you’re a citizen, and have obeyed the law, the government should not be able to throw up additional roadblocks if you choose to go that route.

    Washington State’s concealed permit process is an extension of that basic philosophy – get fingerprinted, pay a fee, and if you pass a background check, you can have one with you in most circumstances, which is both oddly reassuring and completely terrifying, as I think about what it would come to for me to pull it out and drill someone. In the right circumstances, I think that I could do it, but I really don’t want to find out.

    I own one, I know how to use it, and am terrified of its implications, especially when things go bump late in the night in the new high-crime environment that we find ourselves in.

    I think we’d go a lot further by creating a simple law – if you own a firearm, and it is used to commit a crime, you are liable in some way. All weapons must be secured / locked unless, as in my case, you live by yourself and assure that nobody else has access to it. That’s the whole law.



    In Oregon you are required to take a gun safety class (which is probably just basic principles) in order to get a CCW. There is no shooting test.

    BTW,. I know someone who carries and he told me once about receiving a beating while he was armed. He never pulled out his firearm because he knew he would live through it just fine. Pulling out a firearm = killing someone (anything less is using a firearm improperly), so it should be THE last resort.



    Chris, I respect your reasoned argument, but I take exception to your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. This is one of my pet peeves. You see the “Congress shall make no law” quoted all the time, but you rarely, if ever, see the words “A well-regulated militia”. Even with the substantial change in interpretation of the 2nd Amendment by the Supreme Court, the SC still says that regulation of guns is legal, just not outright bans of non-military-grade weapons.

    I’m not a legal scholar or a historian on colonial history, but that doesn’t stop me from having strong opinions. :) What I have read is that the 2nd Amendment was largely planned to prevent the federal government from having a standing army, since the Founders thought that having a standing army would be too much temptation to go out and invade people. They might have had something there. Anyway, in the first or Second Congress, they passed some laws about militias, which I think are instructive to their view of what a militia was.

    They basically boiled down to all able-bodied men of military age having to have a gun, powder, bullets, and other gear and having to turn out regularly for drills on the village green. The militia was the army. By the time the early 1900’s rolled around, militias weren’t working well for national defense and territorial expansion, so the system was changed into the National Guard and the regular army. Long story short, I see the Founders’ view of the militia as being much more like the National Guard than the free for all that the 2nd Amendment has become today. The NG can have all the guns they want, as long as they’re well-regulated.

    Again, I’m not a historian or a lawyer, I just sometimes play one at work.



    LIA – I am also mostly a “bleeding heart liberal” except that since the 1980s I have had a “State of Washington License To Carry Concealed Pistol”. Mine have been issued by SPD and my current one expires next March, and I will be renewing it.

    There are two Initiatives on the ballot and they are basically conflicting. I voted NO on 591 and YES on 594 because as much as I believe I have a right to own a gun I do not trust the people that are backing Initiative 591.

    IMO none of this will stop the people that get guns and commit crimes, those people will still get the guns that are stolen and traded in the “underworld” (for want of a better word). There will still be guns available because people are lazy, often not securing their guns or their homes and then they get robbed. Illegal guns will always be available to the “bad” people. However, this Initiative might just stop the emotional, upset young person, or any person, from just happening upon a gun and using it to destroy others lives.

    I have to admit that I have not been to a gun show for many years but even in 1990s you had to be a member of a gun club or be with a member to get into the shows. And if I594 passes it will put some restrictions on the sellers at these shows, they will have to make anyone that does not have a “State of Washington License To Carry Concealed Pistol” wait for a period of days before obtaining the gun they just bought. People with a “State of Washington License To Carry Concealed Pistol” will still (as far as I can understand it) still be able to buy and take away their purchased gun when they show their ID and “license”.



    Citizens will need their guns for protection after the Republicans take over, cut entitlements, eliminate Social Security and then screw-up the economy again. Oh my!



    Last spring I was up at the Monroe Fairground for a fiber festival. The same day in another building on the fairgrounds was a gun show. I walked in out of curiosity. Looked at some guns, talked to a few people about the guns they were showing me. I could have carried a gun and ammo out of there no problem, no questions, provided I had cash. I was told that as long as I didn’t conceal it, I would be just fine taking it to my car and driving home. That scares me.



    Boatgeek – can’t argue with you. In my own defense, I didn’t finish my thoughts about the muddled mess that comes after “Congress shall make no law”. Both sides have been going around and around on this stuff for decades, and I’m simply not smart enough to draw a conclusion as to the intent of the Framers, nor to the initial laws passed by Congress, nor to the interpretation followed by many of those who advocate for an unadulterated right to keep and bear arms.

    Simply put, it is a mess. Everyone knows it, on both sides, because unlike with many constitutional-type questions, the interpretation really depends on your background and outlook.

    My interpretation, for whatever it is worth, is that the 2nd is really in place to protect the 1st. That may or may not be what it started out as, but there is a significant portion of the population who are more or less on the same bandwidth.

    Is this a little extreme and/or paranoid? Probably. And then every so often I see reports of attempted popular uprisings in places like Iran (not to pick on them, they just come immediately to mind), where the government had all the guns and beat the ever-loving crap out of the side that was a) protesting peacefully and b) didn’t have any guns.

    Realistic? Probably not. But my amateur reading of history suggests that governments can move from democratic to autocratic with surprising speed, and any speed bumps are probably not, in the end, wasted efforts. Take a look at the SPD monitor’s reports on trying to get a small police force to actually enforce laws in a constitutional manner. Some of the most frustrating reading I’ve done in a while.



    Chris, that’s definitely a valid viewpoint. I come at it from a different direction. In my not so humble opinion, what prevents the government from overturning a popular election/not allowing popular candidates on the ballot (eg Iran, Egypt, etc. etc.) is not that a percentage of the people are armed, but that the government has some respect for the courts and that police are unwilling to shoot their neighbors and family.

    No matter how many guns my brother in law has (and he has an awful lot), he’s not going to hold off a determined SWAT team. There isn’t going to be a Red Dawn-style revolution where citizens with non-military grade weapons are going to hold off an army. Even though the cops go beyond what is legal in some cases, I don’t see them following orders to fire on crowds en masse.

    That said, respect for the courts is a challenge. SPD officers certainly showed that with the response to the DOJ lawsuit, and the subsequent lawsuit against the reforms. On the other hand, you have no red states completely refusing to accept court orders on same sex marriage. Delay until the final court order is issued, yes, but not outright refusal.

    Thanks for the good discussion!



    There’s a line in one of my favorite books, Cryptonomicon, where two characters are talking about guns. I’m paraphrasing here, but one of the characters says “as you are aware, I have used guns and owned several, but sometimes I think that if we get to the point where we are shooting each other, we’ve really screwed up.”

    I like shooting at a range, personally. It is a way to blow off a little stress, but more than that, it is a difficult skill, in some ways harder than golf, which I’ve been playing for my entire life for much the same reason.

    As to why I still have mine, it is nothing more than a hedge against the worst possible things I can think of:

    – Loss of respect for the courts (I liked your point on that) and the societal tailspin that would result.
    – Seattle’s crime stats. I’ve been doing some data crunching. Right now, in Seattle, 1 out of every 13 people have been or will be a victim of property crime in 2014. Extrapolating population and crime trends from the last 4 years (which won’t hold up, of course, but this is a thought experiment, so just go with it), that stat will be 1 out of every 7 by 2020.
    – The Big One happens in Seattle, large sections of the town are leveled, mass chaos ensues, etc. Basically the worst parts of the Bible. I generally have enough water and food to last about 10-14 days, and I hate to say it, but I will be taking care of one person first and foremost.

    My rule on the use of weapons is that I will not do it specifically to protect my property. When things go bump in the night, I have sat at the top of my stairs with zero intention of going down them to protect what I own, but the moment I hear someone coming up, I will chamber a round and wonder aloud exactly how big a hole that round will make as it exits their body (best guess is at least the diameter of a silver dollar). If they continue to climb the stairs, however, the decision gets a lot easier.

    I don’t mean to say that in a confrontational way. More that I’ve thought a lot about the responsibility inherent in having something that can end someone’s life and have come to some conclusions that I am comfortable with on lots of different levels, especially restraint in the face of a potentially difficult situation.



    Chris – thanks for your posts. I am on your page, and you have expressed my thoughts perfectly. Thank you.



    Here is a flow chart on this new ord.

    View post on



    Richy – thanks for that, very interesting.

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