Letter to the editor: Make your voice heard regarding gun responsibility legislation

Editor:

Once again, Washington Senate gun responsibility bill 5078 is stuck in the Washington State Senate Rules Committee. If enacted, SB 5078 would make it “criminal offense to manufacture, possess, distribute, import, sell, purchase or transfer a magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds” (currently stands at 30 rounds).

This is a safety measure for our children, our families and our community. Please write to members of the Washington State Senate Rules committee (link to members and email addresses here) and voice your opinion about the approval of this bill for the Senate floor.

Let’s, at least, get it on the floor for a vote. It takes more than a committee to get bills through our state Legislature. It takes the voice of the people.

Carol Megenity
Edmonds

    1. Ray, Is it your belief that the “right to bear arms” includes a specific right to unlimited magazine capacity?

  1. Ms. Megenity,
    If you want to support things that will make our children, our families and our communities safer, then you should support enforcing laws on the books concerning criminal behavior and punishment. You should rally against the people who call for less policing and who denigrate members of law enforcement at every turn. You should call for the resignation of the ESD superintendent who has taken officers out of the High Schools for political reasons. You should call for authorities to clamp down on Antifa and BLM rioters and looters who have destroyed downtown Seattle and other cities this past year and even now. And finally , understand this: There are between 300-400 million firearms owned in this nation with 99.9% owned by good law abiding, responsible citizens and a couple of trillion rounds of ammunition, and many millions of +10 round magazines. If guns and magazines were the problem, you would know it.

    1. Jay you are so right! Guns don’t kill people. Criminals kill people whether it be with a gun, a knife, a sword, an explosive or a car. Put police officers back on campus and parents do your job and teach your children that they are the helpers.

    2. I agree with Jay. This is just the wrong policy at the wrong time. Lets address the issues that are hurting most FIRST. VOTE NO!

      1. Thank you Carol for this article and yes, I will vote YES if this bill reaches the voters. Gun SAFETY needs to start somewhere. This has nothing to do with taking away Second Amendment rights.

    3. This is true. It takes about 30 seconds if you are slow to put in a new 8 bullet magazine. So, it really doesn’t make any difference. Military grade machine guns are NOT for sale. And yes we don’t need machine guns.
      Criminals have guns…most are stolen, acquired illegally, or let’s say gun shows and internet. Businesses many that sell legal weapons can take an order, have it sent to them, then transfer to customer. I read about this the other day.
      Personal protection is even more important without a police department who is allowed to do their jobs.
      Until we are secure in Edmonds and obviously we are not then this will get a no vote. REASON….NO respect for our police or their judgment. It is their job…they know. The city council and mayor in Edmonds is clearly very left wing… This is not a crime but should not be partisan…they are for ALL of Edmonds.
      So, think about it. Just facts here. Hopefully helpful. Good Luck

    4. Nope…not until police refunded, increased in amount of officers and as gently and carefully as possible let them do their jobs…then you get your vote.
      99 is a joke at night…I hear them. Fine, but we must have protection.
      Then we might vote yes.
      I expect many more than those who admit it do own a hand gun. Or a shotgun or rifle. Last two for hunting. Shot guns single barrel have two shots. Two big ones.
      Do your homework. Then make your decision. Don’t assume anything. Again…Good Luck.

  2. Support the bill. The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with large capacity magazines. It is a common sense attempt to making a safer WA.

  3. Why do we need guns for citizens that need to have more than 10 rounds? Weren’t the guns used in the past 6 shooters?

  4. It seems to me that responsible gun owners would welcome regulations to stop people from getting killed. We’re the only country in the world who feels citizens need guns to protect themselves against criminals. Is it because these criminals are allowed to have guns? There are responsible gun owners and those who are not, and this was clearly evident during the insurrection on January 6. We need sensible regulations.

    1. Your statement that we are the only country in the world who’s citizens feel the need to own guns to be safe is completely false. A few years back the Pakistani government provided firearms to members of the Shia community to enable them to defend themselves against sectarian violence. There are parts of the world where law enforcement is non existent or inefficient. Most of Africa is (Unfortunately) a good example of this.

      I know living in Edmonds with our excellent and responsive police department puts you in a bubble, but there are parts of our country, even here in Washington, where the police are not going to be able to come help you when you need them. The reason the rest of the Western world doesn’t have this problem is because the rest of the Western world is far more densely populated than the US. (Apart from parts of Canada, where people do own firearms) A meme that annoyed me was the “30-50 feral hogs” meme that floated around Twitter mocking pro gun arguments as ludicrous. It bothered me because there are parts of this country where that is not an unrealistic problem. I feel like the Gun Control debate is a wonderful example of the sheer disconnect between rural and urban Americans, and to be honest I think it is us urban/suburbanites who put the least effort to empathize.

      As for your statement that gun owners are opposed to laws that save lives, I am not sure how 30 round mags are dangerous assault weapons, but a ten round mag is a tame hunting rifle.

  5. Thank you, Carol, for making the effort to get this information to the public and for including the link to the rules committee personnel. Very helpful! We will respond according to our personal beliefs and preferences.

    Btw— I don’t believe that advocating for some degree of temperance regarding personal firearms in our country constitutes an “assault“ by anyone. Do we have to resort to going to our corners and pitching it back to the “other side” every time?? Or resorting to thinly veiled threats of violence or retribution against people who don’t believe as you do?
    I can condemn the violence and stupidity that is going on in downtown Seattle, advocating for much stronger police response and better leadership by our city government — while at the same time advocating for some reasonable degree of gun control among our citizenry. Really.

  6. Here is what is interesting to me – bad guys do not follow laws anyway. They will get the high capacity magazines, the bump stocks, the automatic weapons – one way or another. Instead, make it the responsibility of the law abiding citizens to make a safer environment. It makes zero sense to me. The law does not make anyone safer. It does not eliminate magazines that are out there already, it does not get rid of the risk associated with 10 or 40 bullets.

    Gun safety and gun education are paramount. I was taught that there are only two reasons to ever pull out a gun – to learn how to use it, and to kill something. That is what they are for. Unfortunately, there is not enough of that language used today. Guns are for killing. Not for maiming, not for showing off, but for killing. Simple.

    If there is one iota of belief that a low magazine clip is going to prevent a person with mental health issues from violence, that is the wrong approach. (How many clips can you tape together and flip over to reload, does anyone know how long it takes to pop a clip).

    I do not necessarily agree with “it is my right” – but it is (right now), and I am not sure if there are studies that show it reduces gun violence, but shouldnt we be focused on equity and justice and resolving the opioid and homeless issues that plague the western part of our State? Shouldnt we be focused on pushing for more vaccines and getting kids back in school?

    This may not be a popular opinion, but to some degree, are we barking up the wrong tree here?

    1. George Bennett
      You cover so many good points and I agree with you that the guns are not the problem. The idea of getting rid of the guns for safety will only make the public more unsafe because the bad guys don’t follow the laws. I served in the military and swore to support the constitution and I still believe in it.
      I also support our police because without them our lives would be hell.

  7. Just one other point – this is from some 4 year old information, but I wonder what the murder rates and crime rates are in these cities…

    The following states have implemented capacity-based magazine bans: California – 10 rounds; Colorado – 15 rounds; Connecticut – 10 rounds; Hawaii – 10 rounds; Maryland – 10 rounds; Massachusetts – 10 rounds; New York – 10 rounds; and most recently (2018) New Jersey – 10 rounds (previously restricted to 15 rounds), and Vermont – 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns (previously no restrictions).

    The following cities, among others, also have capacity-based bans in place: San Francisco, CA – 10 rounds; Los Angeles, CA – 10 rounds; Oakland, CA – 10 rounds; Denver, CO – 15 rounds; Washington, DC – 10 rounds; Aurora, IL – 15 rounds; Chicago, IL – 12 rounds; Franklin Park, IL – 16 rounds; Oak Park, IL – 10 rounds; Riverdale, IL – 35 rounds

  8. Interesting comments on both sides. Did you know that WA state has a regulation prohibiting hunting game birds with a shotgun with greater than a 3 shell capacity? Most states have this as well. Perhaps if WA would enact a law prohibiting humans from hunting other humans with firearms with magazines capable of holding more than 3 bullets that would be appropriate. Give humans the chance just like game birds.

    The second amendment was written in 1791–when most firearms were single shot–and had absolutely nothing to do with magazine capacity. Just like restricting magazines to 10 bullets does not affect anyone’s second amendment rights. Too many can’t differentiate the true meaning of the amendment when you toss in things like bump stocks, assault rifles, magazine capacity, etc. I can see no negatives with this proposal. Vote yes.

    1. Do you know how long it takes to speed load a revolver? Seconds. Do you know how long it takes to put a new magazine in a semi? Seconds. Look at the data. The problem is not magazine capacity. The problem is extremism. I own a gun, six shots. Enough to protect myself to the degree I deem necessary. The argument that it does not affect the 2nd Amendment rights is up to the Supreme Court – and so far, they have upheld it pretty consistently. Magazine capacity is not going to stop gun accidents, suicides, armed robbery, and even mass shootings. It will be another law. Another reason to get arrested and fined.

  9. A bad piece of legislation by the anti-gun folks. This will not increase the safety of anyone. Magazines can by exchanged in less than five seconds. This is just the camels nose under the tent towards the goal of prohibition of private lawful ownership of guns. When that happens only criminals have guns. Goes down well in the era of defund police right?
    Note that the legislation, if enacted, would make criminals of anyone who already possesses a magazine of over 10 rounds. SB 5078 would make it “criminal offense to manufacture, possess, distribute, import, sell, purchase or transfer a magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.” “POSSESS” means what you currently own.

    Washington Constitution, Article I, Section 24: Right to bear arms.
    “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

  10. Carol,

    I am a fairly new gun owner and I see that many of the proposed new laws seem to be written by people who don’t know how guns work. What difference does it make if my clip holds 20 rounds or I carry two clips with 10 rounds? I am not an expert, but even I can change clips in a few seconds at best.

    Are you aware how rounds are put into clips? You have to manually load them, one bullet at a time, but I can carry multiple clips that I’ve already loaded.

    How would this have prevented the mass shootings we have experienced? I’ve seen a recent video from one of the parents of a Stoneman Douglas student who was murdered. You know what really would have helped? If the school had taken his previous behavior and threats seriously! There were tons of red flags and they were completely ignored. Limiting the rights of legal gun owners would not have stopped this shooting. Give us some laws that would create real results and I’ll be pushing the laws with you!

    1. Tina, spot on. You are on the money with each point you make. Understand this is not about “common sense gun regulation”. It is about getting a toe hold on the greater goal of depriving citizens of their Constitutional rights to bear arms in their own defense. And then……???

      1. I disagree that there is a broad conspiracy to “take our guns”. I think it is Democratic politicians appealing to their voter base that tends to be largely ignorant about firearms, and pandering to their emotions claiming a piece of legislation they support will decrease gun violence, when the reality is that anyone with any knowledge of firearms will tell you that all you are accomplishing is inconveniencing legal firearm owners.

  11. Hi Caral, So what some people are saying is it’s OK that mass slaughter in Vegas Nevada, and, children in Florida, Connecticut, & other Sates to be slaughtered! The founding fathers never intended for children to be slaughtered and innocent people!Come on people take some responsibility!! and protect our vulnerable innocent population! Cindy

    1. That is rhetoric, plain and simple. Have you ever handled a firearm? Been taught to hunt? Gone skeet shooting? Learned how to hold, fire, and safely store a gun? The people who want to conduct mass shootings or crimes will do this. They will, unless we figure out a way to end crime and mental illness, own whatever they want, and be able to get whatever they want. So we decriminalize hard drugs (I mean why put someone in jail when it is for personal use), but we criminalize bullets. I think both kill people, and unfortunately, drugs have been known to lead to firearm use. Does not make sense to me…

    2. Cindy – Not a single person says that a mass slaughter is okay. Manufacturers who also make opioids for pharmaceutical reasons also intended those to help people for medical reasons. They were NOT designed to get people to be hooked on them and steal and shoot people for them. What we need is MUCH MUCH harsher prison sentences and other consequences for violating the law. People in prison being allowed to sleep all day, play on the internet and watch tv – does not make people avoid at all costs from going there. Don’t believe me – ask to walk through a prison to see for yourself. Not many inmates are isolated to themselves – alone, only given books or other materials to become better people. Also – you may want to research more into your “mass slaughters” and find out more about the people behind them. To protect our innocent population – we need MORE POLICE and harsher punishments. We need guns in every home and every person to have training from a young age. More guns = less crimes. Look it up. If someone wants to break into someone’s house to steal something and they know they are armed and trained – they will most likely think twice about breaking in. You don’t like guns – fine… I don’t like Prius’ and SMART cars. So we need to ban them. They cause excess traffic and accidents due to their owners lack of ability to drive. I also think we should ban your 1st Amendment since you didn’t write it down with an ink and quill or a type writer like they did when they wrote it. Those two sound silly…. well so does your argument.

  12. It’s totally irrelevant whether we have guns or not in terms of protecting our freedoms. Compared to the fire power a corrupt government, from within or from without, could unleash on us even a privately owned 50 Cal. fully automatic machine gun is a “pea shooter” and no protection at all really.

    If any government, foreign or domestic, is going to take our freedom, it will be with ideological propaganda and computers, not guns. Based on propaganda and lies on social media, an angry mob with only sticks and stones (so to speak) just came within inches of taking over our Nations Capitol. The secret service and the Capitol police could have easily killed dozens of these mobsters had they chosen to, as they were highly armed against essentially unarmed people. What saved the day, was the psychological and fire arm safety training and education of the police officials involved. That alone, averted a blood bath instigated by a man who would be a king. Not my conclusion, the conclusion of the majority of the United States Senate.

    Firearms and capacities aren’t the problem. Mental illness and extreme ideologies Right and Left are the problems. These problems can only be solved by science, education and honest government that somehow works for everyone, not just the ideological in crowd of the moment. That’s what the Great American Experiment is all about.

    The mass shootings are a result of metal illness and the need to exert some sort of power over powerlessness for lack of a better word. Laws limiting ownership of weaponry are a band-aid, perhaps, but a solution? Never.

  13. The topic of guns is as volatile as religion, with both sides entrenched beyond the reach of the other side’s rhetoric – or ideas. One thing stands out in reading over the posts above, and that is that everyone tends to think in generalities, usually negative ones, usually in disregard of the other side’s fears and needs. At he same time, no one seems to deny that firearm violence is a national problem.

    Other countries have other responses, all more strict than would be tolerated in the US, though many, if not most, seem to result in lower rates of gun-related violence. So perhaps the question we need to ask is: what specific, detailed, thoughtful measures can we take to lower levels of gun violence – measures that are realistic, possible in the US, and which take into consideration the very real fears and rights of BOTH sides? I assume we all want security and freedom from violence – let’s work together to achieve it.

    It would be interesting and even possibly useful if commenters put forth positive, detailed proposals rather than simply attacking the other side.

    1. I agree. So what are the solutions for the leading cause of gun deaths (suicides and gang related violence). Mental health, a focus in support and counseling, education, programs that reduce to dropout to jail factories in most large urban areas. None of those have to do with the number of bullets. Instead of wasting time to make a statement, our politicians should sit down and figure out how to solve the root cause. What might you propose?

      1. I agree with all your points, though I wonder what the chances would be of finding the money for those programs? I would add the notion that mandating satisfactory completion of a rigorous gun safety class in order to buy a gun would help with accidental incidents and suicides, as well as weeding out some folks who simply shouldn’t have a lethal weapon. Background checks and strict enforcement with no loopholes would also help.

        No measure is going to accomplish everything, and any measure will take time and consistency to take effect. There’s no overnight solution or “silver bullet” (that seemed an appropriate metaphor).

        And calm, rational discussion, such as your post, is also a step forward.

        1. Agree. We do have background checks. I want a national computer registration. The ability to check ALL who are buying. 3 week waiting list to take possession of weapon.. no bump stocks. Then get on that web of hate and lies and find these who are uniting as I type. Judt like porn…dig deep government agencies. I don’t care if this effects freedom of speech. This is a game machine with very bad games going on in secret right there we find them…we round them up…then we see. We like it or not made lots of this happen to our country and the world with Social Media and violent video games for your children.
          So we demand this be stopped. Until people are better psychologically…then we see.

        2. I think Deborah Arthur needs to learn what is REALLY happening behind the doors of background checks. We already ARE completing FULL background checks on EVERY PERSON that buys a gun. There is ALREADY a ten business day waiting period for the background checks to be completed by the buyers local PD. I think Deborah just also stated that she is willing to break federal law and the constitution to skip the entire 1st Amendment – Freedom of Speech. But she is asking for us to acknowledge the futility in her response (allowing her the right of her Freedom of Speech). People/children need to learn to not get trophies for participation, get told “no”, learn to deal with their issues (or seek medical assistance if needed). But, this is America… the land of the free, home of the brave! She is exactly what is making that go backwards! She wants people to have their rights be violated because and wants to blame others for the consequences.
          Why did we EVER get rid of D.A.R.E or the Eddy Eagle gun safety programs? What’s wrong with teaching children to be safe around things that can potentially hurt them? They learn sex education, how to be safe around electricity and driver’s education in school. Teaching our children how to be safe, the world is not fair and you have to work hard to get what you want is what we need. Also – I’m unsure why Deborah is upset with Porn and violent video games? The parents SHOULD be monitoring their children to ensure the games they play and internet they look at are AGE APPROPRIATE!

  14. Snohomish County is in the top 10% of taxed counties in the Country. I am not so sure it is not a lack of money – it is a lack of metrics. Let’s study opioids, housing, homelessness, and study a million other things. All of the money goes to studies – not to actions. I did some research on each of the items I just mentioned – it is not a matter of funding – it is a matter of standing behind good sounding themes (i.e. equity and justice) and not doing what it takes to get there. Just my two cents – going to get off my soap box now before they add gun nut to my misogynist label.

  15. As a society and a nation we have been convinced by the gun lobby, the gun industry and the NRA that the only way we can remain a free and independent nation or people is by the individual ownership of small arms. Being able to go to a store and purchase a small arm gives the ordinary man the allusion, at least, that he/she is somehow in charge of their fate and able to defend himself or herself from whatever evil force is out there trying to get them somehow. This is a false sense of security of course, but it works very well for the people who profit from it. It also works very well for some mentally ill or anti social criminal type people who also get this false sense of security by possessing and at times assaulting other people with these weapons. Not much of a winner for anyone, really, except the gun makers.

    This doesn’t mean I would ever support prohibition of small arms manufacture or ownership. Prohibition of anything doesn’t work. I would support teaching gun safety and use in our schools and some laws regarding the safe handling and storage of small arms. That would at least be a start in making our gun culture less deadly. I would also support laws that would require people who are convicted of assault with a deadly weapon or crimes with a small arm from ever being allowed to purchase or own a small arm again. Prohibiting ownership after proof of misuse would be a whole different thing than just broad brushed across the board prohibition, which will only produce a destroyed industry and a black market in small arms.

    1. Clinton,

      People who have been convicted of crimes are prohibited from owning guns. That’s what the background check is for. It doesn’t stop them from getting guns though, even thought it’s illegal for them to do so. That’s why I think focusing on the gun laws is not going to solve the problem of mass shootings. It’s already illegal to shoot and kill people but the shooters do it anyway. What’s another gun law going to do to make them think twice?

      1. Tina – good points! But we need to remember two things: 1) there is no one solution – reducing gun violence will take an array of measures; and 2) it will take time for any measures to take effect. Focusing on gun laws alone will not solve the problem, as you point out, but can be *part* of a “solution.”

        A background check can slow or prevent some ex-cons from getting guns, ad any reduction in the number of guns in the wrong hands is surely a good thing. Background checks could also keep mentally unstable persons from getting guns, and we have seen the results when this has been neglected. The same might be a good idea with regard to people who post threats or belong to terrorist groups. And these laws need to be enforced, which sadly they sometimes aren’t.

        I may be wrong, but aren’t most mass shooters by non-criminals? I would guess that making it harder for them to get a gun, via cooling-off periods, etc. won’t, again. “solve” the problem – but it might well diminish it, as would rigorous safety education (by slowing down initial purchase; and as a measure to eliminate accidental shootings).

        Storage is another issue: how can we keep guns from being stolen, or handled by kids? I know that a safe negates the defensive value of a gun – but extra guns? Guns when not being used? I suspect that strong parental instruction in gun safety, such as I had, would also help. How to encourage and support this?

        You seem very interested in the topic – what steps do you suggest that would help curb firearm-related violence?

      2. Tina, I’m not really advocating more gun laws or prohibiting guns in general, because I agree neither approach will work. I do advocate taking guns away from people who have a history of misuse and abuse of them, teaching the entire population in public and private schools about the safe use and storage of guns (with parental permission) and state sponsored free mental health counseling for anyone who requests it or are court ordered to seek it, at least partially paid for by taxation of the arms industry that profits so mightily from this infatuation we have, as a nation, with small arms ownership. Part of the cost of buying a small arm should be the prepaid cost of the problems misuse causes the society as a whole. If it doubles the cost of fire arms; that’s great as far as I’m concerned. Higher cost should help discourage both use and misuse. Education and mental health treatment should mitigate at least some of the misuse and carnage caused by human weakness and the easy availability of deadly fire arms. I agree with having regulations tightened in the area of background checks and qualifications for ownership.

    2. I would challenge the notion that firearms offer a false sense of security. Every week Kirby Wilbur had a segment of stories on his radio program, “Good Guy (or Gal) with a Gun.” Bottomline, guns are an effective tool.

      A friend who just took a class at West Coast Armory North said the instructor offered that the average number of shots fired by a cop to stop a perpetrator is 6. With only 10 rounds, hopefully there’s no more than 1 bad guy, or the gun owner is a better shot than the average police officer.

      As for propaganda, yes, we are an impressionable bunch. So, we must be discerning in where we get our information. From my research, I would submit that a gun is a more effective defense for stopping a bad guy than a mask (or 2) is for stopping CV19.

  16. Brian, I have no problem with you or anyone else “packing heat” if it makes you feel more secure. All I’m saying is if some nut job decides to shoot you in the back or suddenly open up on you with a modified weapon and 30 rounds of ammo, chances are that “heat” you are packing won’t do you much good – hence a false sense of security possibly. Should you carry anyway? Doesn’t really matter I suspect. I’m certainly okay with it; as it was still a free country last time I checked.

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