KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Democrats’ bill effectively ends self-defense at dangerous bus stops

Jan 15, 2024, 6:00 PM

democrats self defense bus stop...

Seattle police are investigating the death of a man hit by a car on Queen Anne. (Seattle Police)

(Seattle Police)

Despite a slew of violent crimes, Washington Democrats are trying to strip away your fundamental right to self-defense in the very places you need it most. Their newest bill bans weapons, including legally purchased guns and knives, at bus stops and transit centers.

SB 5444 isn’t just an overreach; it’s a direct attack on law-abiding citizens. And it disproportionately affects those demographics the Democrats always claim to champion. The irony is as thick as it is infuriating.

Current law already prohibits weapons in places like courtrooms, bars, and certain restricted areas. But SB 5444 takes it to an absurd level, adding public libraries, zoos, aquariums, parks, community centers, and other public buildings to the no-go list for self-defense.

The most alarming part? Transit stations and facilities are included in this ban. Washington Democrats’ soft-on-crime policies have already turned our buses and light-rail into hotspots for danger. By banning weapons for self-defense, they’re not just ignoring the problem; they’re exacerbating it.

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Mass transit can be dangerous — especially in and around Seattle

Western Washington has seen a number of high-profile, violent crimes in 2023. Many took place at the very transit locations of SB 5444 targets.

A homeless man was charged in the hammer attack against two random victims in their 60s in September at a Sound Transit station. In another unprovoked July incident, a man stabbed a passenger 18 times at the light-rail train near Othello Station. A Sound Transit station in SODO in July also featured an attack when a man was bludgeoned in the head with a rock. And in a November stabbing at the Northgate station, a man was critically wounded. These, and many other attacks, prompted Sound Transit to hire more security.

Bus agency properties fared no better.

In November, a 21-year-old man was murdered on a Metro RapidRide H Line bus in White Center, shot in the dead as we apparently sleeping. In the same month, a 64-year-old man was stabbed after getting off a Metro bus in Seattle. Plus, a bus stop in Parkland, across the street from an elementary school, was the site of a shooting that left two young men dead. Police say a man killed a 64-year-old man by striking him in the head with a skateboard at a Spokane Transit Authority bus stop.

If you’re armed to protect yourself against these threats, you’d be violating this law.

Say goodbye to self-defense

Ignore the transit advocates who try to hide the truth. Our mass transit is not as safe as it must be. Yet Democrats want to take away reasonable means of defending ourselves.

Washington Democrats routinely push legislation making it easier for criminals to suffer fewer — if any — consequences for their crimes. But at least the rest of us have been left with means to protect ourselves and our families from the criminals Democrats keep out of jail. But if this bill passes, we’ll again be sitting ducks.

It’s unclear what bill sponsor State Senator Javier Valdez (D-Seattle) hopes to accomplish. He did not respond to a request for comment. It’s safe to say the intent is not to add more jail time to criminals caught with weapons because that’s already against the law, and Democrats are pushing legislation that lessens punishment for gun-related crimes. This specifically targets law-abiding citizens, disproportionately impacting low-income communities that rely on mass transit.

Targeting riders

Under this bill, you cannot be a full-time mass transit user and carry a weapon for self-defense. SB 5444, thus, deprives low-income Washingtonians of their right to bear arms.

The same would be true for black Washingtonians. King County Metro data says they are more likely than white people to ride the bus. A gol of the  Democrat party remains to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. Perhaps they stopped caring if legislation disproportionately targets communities they pander to. Regardless of race or socio-economic status, should residents forgo self-protection in order to ride the bus? Law enforcement won’t be searching passengers for weapons. That means the bill is poised to punish people for using a weapon in self-defense because they shouldn’t have had the weapon to begin with.

And the ban on weapons is unlikely to stop with the current list of no-go locations. If this passes, it all but ensures another bill will be introduced in the next legislative session to expand the ban since the goal is to ban guns. In the meantime, Democrats are purposefully making gun ownership more onerous — except on criminals.

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Rantz: Democrats’ bill effectively ends self-defense at dangerous bus stops