By Steven Stuart
In the last couple of weeks, Shawn Vestal has written two articles on gun control. As with most of his articles on this subject, he is correct, to a point. After 12 years in law enforcement (Washington and Idaho), 14 years security at Deaconess (mainly in ER), 20 years Army infantry and a firearm owner, I have a problem with his articles.
There is a phrase Vestal uses which seems to indicate his lack of understanding about shootings: “Ho hum.” (“Just another day in a land sick with gun violence,” Oct. 27). I can assure everyone that as I raced to Freeman, which my daughter attended, “ho hum” didn’t enter my mind. I would wager no parent, relative, friend, faculty, staff, police, fire, EMT, ER tech felt like saying, “Ho hum, just another school shooting.” In a “ho-hum” world, would the superintendent of Marysville School District fly to Spokane on her own dime to assist (they had their own shooting) – or two people from Colorado, a teacher and a parent, Columbine survivors, fly up to help? Or would the superintendent of Freeman offer his support to other schools going through the same situation? Guess they forgot their “ho-hum” card. Several weeks later, a neighbor was target practicing with a .22; maybe if Vestal had seen the expression on my daughter’s face it wouldn’t be so easy to say, “Ho hum.” And yet she told me later, “Dad, I’m not against guns, I’m for school safety.”
He mentions the Boise Town Mall shooting, about spending time there. I attended opening weekend and shopped there many times after. Maybe he thinks school shooting survivors have no feelings about other shootings. Or concerts – how many said, “Ho hum,” after Vegas?
How about a little “ho hum” in action. There have been several heinous criminals in the Spokane area – Kevin Coe, Robert Yates, James Duncan – yet only one local author, Jess Walter, wrote a book about a local event, Ruby Ridge. Books can go into detail that articles can’t. The worst shooting at a medical facility in U.S. history occurred at Fairchild. And yet, while columnists at The Spokesman-Review did a lot of investigation, it took 34 years for Andy Brown, a survivor not an author, to write his excellent book, “Warnings Unheeded.” “Ho hum?”
Do gun control advocates ever read their proposed laws? Many laws are illegal. The people writing them have no idea what they are talking about, the law is unenforceable, or they are just silly. Examples: About 10 years ago, a state senator (also an attorney) wrote a law specifically about the AR-15. If you owned one, it had to be registered at the local sheriff’s office, safely stored, and the police had the authority to come to your house to inspect where you kept it stored, anytime, without a warrant, whether you were home or not. Clearly he slept through the class on the Fourth Amendment. Later, as Seattle’s mayor, he was forced to resign.
When they write laws they often show how little they know. Would someone – any gun control advocate – tell the world what an “assault gun” is? Except for the usual descriptions, it looks like an M-16. They can’t, for a simple reason: It does not exist. In the 1980s, the Army came up with an idea of an assault gun; it was an armored vehicle with some kind of cannon on it. It went nowhere.
Same thing now. It is a made-up term designed to scare people. The 1994 Brady Bill described what an assault gun was. Using that, the Brown Bess, a flintlock musket carried by the British army during the Revolutionary War, fit the description. The Puckle gun, designed in 1719, also fit. A U.S. representative from New York City helped write the description. When asked what a barrel shroud was, she called it a “shoulder thingy.” People writing federal laws which affect everyone can’t even tell you what they are trying to outlaw. These folks write our laws?
As a police officer, I want the Legislature, if it is writing a criminal law, to at least make it enforceable. Washington’s change of possession law is not. Imagine, a criminal sold a firearm to another, then said, “Hey, we’d better do a background check. Don’t want to get hit with that $35 fine.” Gun control advocates have a blind spot, refusing to acknowledge criminals don’t obey the law. That’s why so many laws are intended to stop criminals but only affect law-abiding people. This law has not stopped a single crime.
Many laws are so unresearched it makes them silly. The Brady Bill outlawed having a grenade launcher. I checked and there is no documented case of a grenade launcher being used to commit a crime in the United States.
There is one law, however, gun control activists would get rid of in a second, if they could. It’s been around for about 13 billion years. It’s Newton’s first law of motion: An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an outside force. According to this law, I can lay my pistol on my desk and unless something happens – earthquake, desk falls over – it will not move. Strange, they never talk about this law.
Gun control folks say, “We’re not coming for your guns (Democrat President Barack Obama), when they really mean, “Hell yeah, we’re coming for your ARs and AKs.” (Democrat presidential wannabe Beto O’Rourke. He’ll be back). Is there any wonder why the confusion? Sorry, Shawn Vestal, gun owners do read and understand the law and are not “ho-hum.”
Steven Stuart lives in Spokane.
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