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Tom Shillue

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Some questions about your assault weapon bans

(File, Associated Press)

Tuesday night in Edmonds, myself, Dave Ross, Jason Rantz and King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht will discuss and debate in what we have billed as a discussion about “guns and our children.”

There is much to discuss: Why government employees ignore existing laws, which enable murderers like the Parkland killer, the Virginia Tech murderer, and many more? Why do gun control advocates and their partners in the mainstream media ignore the fact that it is gang violence — which we could attack without a Second Amendment issue — that is responsible for most murders with guns? Why do the media and their partners in the Democrat obsess over weapons involved in less than 1 percent of murders — so-called “assault weapons” — and ignore the common pistol, which is used to kill roughly 97 percent of victims?

Those are among the issues we can fruitfully discuss and on which I would hope we can find common ground.

What I think we are really going to debate is what, exactly, the left is willing to do to their fellow Americans–on that, I doubt there is anything on which we agree.

Assault weapon ban is fantasy

One of the areas that we can argue about is the left’s desire to ban what they and their partners in the media have decided to call “assault weapons.” The plan of many a Democrat — included our part-time Attorney General and full-time campaign fundraiser, Sideshow Bob Ferguson–is to “ban them.” This scheme calls for the introduction of some reality and some questions that I honestly wonder if anyone on the left has considered. For all the reasons, below, it is a fantasy and a dark one.

Have you thought through compliance?

Do people on the left imagine that even 10 percent of legal gun owners will surrender their firearms if a ban is instituted? They have not and they will not. Reason.com reports that, even on the liberal East Coast, compliance with the diktats is laughably low (emphasis mine).

When New Jersey went a step further and banned the sale and possession of “assault weapons,” 947 people registered their rifles as sporting guns for target shooting, 888 rendered them inoperable, and four surrendered them to the police. That’s out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 firearms affected by the law. The New York Times concluded, a bit drily, ‘More than a year after New Jersey imposed the toughest assault-weapons law in the country, the law is proving difficult if not impossible to enforce.’

I argue that the numbers are probably even lower because many gun owners will never have their best weapons found in any database. For instance, of the good number of guns to which I have access, exactly two came from a store purchase. The others are in no database anywhere.

What do you plan to do to people?

Having diminished the power and meaning of the Second Amendment, are you now willing to attack the Fourth Amendment’s Clause against unreasonable search and seizure? That would be the only way to find the guns I use and those of many other gun owners. Do you imagine that we will respond to a knock on the door by a compliance officer? We won’t. Are you then prepared to have compliance officers kick in our doors? How far are you willing to take your plan to confiscate a weapon from someone who has committed no crime with it? Are you willing to have compliance officers kill people in order to take a weapon? If you answer no, you are admitting your plan won’t work. If you answer yes, you are admitting you will end the 4th Amendment and actually start the thing that inspired the Second Amendment in the first place: a hedge against government tyranny.

Do you think other laws will catch all of us?

You won’t catch us in registration schemes for ammunition: I have a lot of it and, if you launch such a scheme, I will buy many hundreds of rounds out of State. I will likely never use it, but better to have it and not need it than the reverse.

Your law that directs my survivors report all the guns to which I had access when I die won’t work because I have read the law and my family won’t even have to break it to avoid it. Funny thing, words: they mean things. Did I say I owned any guns?

Some groups are calling for a demand that gun owners submit themselves to periodic reviews of our fitness to own the mythical “Assault Weapon, but not the common pistol. Yeah . . . we aren’t going to do that and, for the same reasons above, you have created real problems if your try

A way forward

No one is more serious about gun safety than people at gun ranges because we don’t want to get shot by some greenhorn or hot-head. Likewise, gun owners are serious about keeping criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from having guns. We have also thought through what can be done. Not only will our solutions be more effective, they will also keep the Bill of Rights and society intact.

The clearest way toward achieving a deep decrease in gun murders is to enforce existing laws. The Parkland shooter should have been locked up; he was dangerously mentally ill and nearly everyone knew it. Telling him to give up his guns might have worked, though it failed with the Burlington Mall killer. Putting him on a no-buy list would have made it much harder for him to get guns. Taking him out of society would have worked for certain. The same is true for the Virginia Tech Killer and Ft. Hood Murderer, who government agents labeled as a “ticking time bomb.” You cannot keep all bad people from getting guns; you can keep people known to be dangerously mentally ill from being outside of a locked facility.

Insane people are not involved in most gun murders–gang members are. We could attack street gangs using RICO Statutes, zoning regulations, immigration sweeps, tax evasion and many more techniques. These interactions would allow officers the ability to seize illegally owned weapons, such as those held by felons. But, that would require clarity, sanity and a moral compass. People like Jenny Durkan have none of those attributes when it comes to “leading.”

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