Editor’s note: Edmonds City Councilmember Dave Teitzel read the following remarks during the Oct. 3 City Council meeting. We are republishing them here.
Over the past two days, I’ve gone through a range of emotions—from shock to sadness to anger. I’m still angry.
Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Oakland, California. Clackamas, Oregon. Orlando, Florida. Las Vegas, Nevada. Seattle, Washington. Mukilteo, Washington.
These are just a few of the communities that, in the past five years, have suffered incidents of multiple deaths and injuries at the hands of a gunman using a semiautomatic firearm. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of saying platitudes like “our thoughts and prayers are with them.” I’m sick of the deaths and permanent disabilities suffered by the victims. I’m sick of the spirit of fatalism that there is nothing to be done because the Constitution prevents it.
I fully support the Second Amendment to our Constitution. Citizens should have the right to lawfully carry handguns to protect themselves. Hunters should have the right to own hunting rifles to hunt big game. Sportsmen should have the right to own shotguns to hunt game birds.
However, semiautomatic firearms have but one purpose: to kill and maim as many humans as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. How fast can a trigger be pulled? 60 times per minute? 120 times per minute? More?
As elected officials, one of our primary duties is to keep our constituents safe and secure. We need to take action to reduce the potential for mass killings we continue to witness. We can do that by supporting our state Attorney General’s efforts to introduce legislation to ban semiautomatic assault rifles in Washington. We can do that by urging our federal legislators to enact federal legislation to curb the proliferation of semiautomatic firearms. We can do that by exploring local measures in Edmonds and Snohomish County to severely restrict semiautomatic firearm ownership.
Will these measures prevent gun violence? No. But if they result in a reduction in the number of sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents slain or permanently injured in shootings in which semiautomatic firearms are used, they are well worth pursuing. Let’s not surrender to fatalism. Let’s do something.
— By Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council