From a mammoth-sized City of Chicago check for the Second Amendment Foundation to the mindless massacres in Connecticut, Colorado and Seattle’s Café Racer, 2012 has been a roller-coaster ride for gun rights activists and firearms prohibitionists.
The Good: An image of SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb holding up a $399,950 check from the City of Chicago for legal fees racked up by the Bellevue-based foundation for its legal victory over the city in the landmark McDonald v. City of Chicago Supreme Court victory in 2010 went viral back in February.
Once again this year, when writing about the Seattle region’s most intriguing people of the year, the Seattle P-I has significantly overlooked Gottlieb, like they and the Seattle Times ignored the Supreme Court Second Amendment victory two years ago as one of the top stories of that year. Gottlieb and SAF have been driving pro-rights litigation all over the landscape, yet local media puts on blinders because their victories amount to losses for anti-gun elites. With this Seattle Times story, we rest our case.
The Chicago check bears Rahm Emanuel’s signature, and it must have pained that career gun grabber no end to see that money paid out.
More recently, SAF’s victory in Moore v. Madigan, which said the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond the confines of one’s home, was another slap in the face to gun prohibitionists, not just in Illinois, but across the map.
SAF racked up another victory in March when the State Supreme Court declined to review Seattle’s appeal of its unanimous appeals court loss in 2011 over the attempted parks gun ban. That case was really an attempt to break Washington State’s model preemption law, passed in 1983 and strengthened in 1985, and anyone who says different is a liar. Seattle anti-gunners Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn, along with Washington Ceasefire, yearn to erode state preemption, but their loss on the parks case only strengthened that statute.
SAF was joined in that lawsuit by the National Rifle Association, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors and five private citizens.
The case had national attention just beneath the surface because Washington’s law was a model for preemption laws across the country. Anti-gunners knew that if they could break this state’s law, the clones could be challenged on similar grounds elsewhere. Again, Seattle’s mainstream press will ignore this firearms rights victory.
Also in March, SAF’s victory in Maryland’s Woollard v. Sheridan case also put the right to bear arms outside the home, thanks to Judge Benson Everett Legg’s astute 23-page ruling.
Black Friday background checks for gun sales broke records, affirming that gun ownership is rising dramatically, not only in Washington but nationwide. This happens while overall violent crime is plummeting.
Likewise, the year closes out with record numbers of state concealed pistol licenses in circulation. As 2013 looms, the numbers are creeping toward 400,000 legally-licensed citizens, affirming that there is a lot of Red State sensibility surrounding Seattle’s Blue State island of smug denial.
The Bad: Sanford, Fla. is a long way from Washington but the shooting of an unarmed teen named Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch activist named George Zimmerman struck a raw nerve all the way to the Pacific Northwest in early March. Anti-gunners exploited the case to attack “Stand-Your-Ground” self-defense measures, and now a Washington State lawmaker wants to erase nearly a century of state court jurisprudence by mandating that crime victims retreat from an attack before defending themselves.
Washington courts have long recognized there is no duty to retreat from attack in any place a person has a right to be. Democrat Rep. Sherry Appleton’s House Bill 1012 is a shameful bit of state-mandated cowardice and it should be dead on arrival.
Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for stonewalling on Operation Fast and Furious was the kind of thing that would have ended most careers, provided, of course, the person had an “R” rather than a “D” behind his name. Holdout Holder still sits on thousands of subpoenaed documents demanded by Congressman Darrell Issa and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in its Fast and Furious investigation. What is Holder, and his boss Barack Obama, trying to hide?
Sportscaster Bob Costas got a drubbing for using his halftime microphone to quote a column about gun control in the wake of a murder-suicide committed by NFL player Javon Belcher in November. Too many people, including Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, tried to provide cover for Costas, but that “Hail Mary” pass didn’t connect, and Costas had to punt.
Unforgivable would apply to a New York state newspaper that revealed the names of gun permit holders in two counties the other day, and gave out their addresses. This happened while people were also criticizing NBC’s David Gregory for apparently violating a District of Columbia gun law about possessing a 30-round magazine. NBC may have been given conflicting information about the legality of Gregory’s grandstand stunt, which proves the stupidity of gun laws and that the police are typically the wrong people to ask about gun laws.
The Ugly: Who can rationalize the wanton murder of innocent school children? The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown on Dec. 14 broke the nation’s heart, and provided a blood-soaked launch pad for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons” that now includes handguns and shotguns with “military characteristics.”
Feinstein had been working on this since September, and initially it would have been in response to the Batman Massacre in Aurora this past July.
Adam Lanza is dead while James Holmes is alive – presumably confined to a rubber room while he awaits trial – and the common denominator in these shootings is that both gunmen had numerous red flags in their backgrounds regarding their mental health.
Likewise, Ian Stawicki, who gunned down four people at Seattle’s Café Racer in May, and 30 minutes later he murdered Bellevue businesswoman Gloria Leonidas downtown to steal her car, was mentally unstable. Stawicki took his own life hours later when confronted by Seattle police officers in West Seattle.
What these cases demonstrate is not that gun laws are weak, but that the mental health system is in shambles because it enables people like this to slip through gaping cracks.
Parental responsibility with firearms also landed in the spotlight several times this year. The tragedies in Marysville and Tacoma, the horrible incident at a Bremerton-area school and another case in Spokane remind us all to be more careful with guns.
With rights come responsibilities, not the kind that gun-grabbing politicians try to mandate, but ones we are supposed to learn by experience and exercise by reflex.
And lastly, Chicago’s body count has hit 500; one hell of a human monument for restrictive gun regulations in a city that continues to fight court rulings and common sense.
But while politicians and journalists demonize the National Rifle Association for protecting gun rights, new Gallup polling shows that the NRA enjoys higher favorability among the public than either President Obama or his media cheerleaders.