Amid the fireworks following Seattle’s circus-like gun buyback and the antics in Oak Harbor over guns in parks, another front in the cultural war against firearms is being reopened next Monday evening when Town Hall holds a forum on “Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis.”
Already, Seattle-area gun activists are planning to attend the gathering, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Hall on Eighth Avenue in downtown Seattle.
It’s a joint effort by Town Hall and the University of Washington School of Public Health. There is perhaps no surprise in the firearms community that none of the speakers represents their view, nor does it appear that anyone from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership is on the panel. Here, according to the Town Hall website, is a list of who will be present: David Fleming, director of Public Health Seattle-King County; Dr. Frederick Rivara, UW Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology; Amnon Shoenfeld, director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division; Beth Ebel, Director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center; and Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.
They will be introduced by Dr. Howard Frumkin, Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, and the moderator is Steve Boyd of MacDonald Boyd & Associates.
There is a note on the Town Hall website from Marc Brenman, former executive director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission and co-author of “Planning as if People Matter: Governing for Social Equity.” He has a list of ideas on how to address “gun violence” that include control the manufacture and sale of firearms, “restrict ownership minimally,” raise the price and increase the cost of illegal gun acquisition and tighten rules on concealed carry. He also links to another website touting his work.
Brenman apparently is oblivious to the fact that the firearms industry is already one of the most heavily-regulated industries in the country, and he evidently doesn’t understand the law of supply and demand. As millions of citizens rush to purchase firearms now being targeted for a ban by President Barack Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), supplies will be reduced and prices will go up. That’s Economics 101.
He also doesn’t explain how we might “minimally” restrict ownership. The firearms community is waiting for that one with political bare knuckles, so good luck with that. One person’s “minimal” restrictions are another person’s outright ban.
How does one raise the cost of illegal gun acquisition? Does that involve approaching burglars and demanding payment for the guns they’re stealing?
And then comes tightening the rules on concealed carry, which translates to regressing back 30 years to a “may” issue scenario in which political police chiefs would be able to deny concealed pistol licenses on a whim.
It all sounds rather Utopian in concept, and Draconian in execution. Gun owners are not likely to allow their rights to be eroded in order to make the Utopians feel good and create the false impression that they have accomplished something to prevent violent crime.
Next week promises something of a full agenda, with the Town Hall on Monday and the Oak Harbor City Council meeting on Tuesday. February promises to be a pretty lively month, and if Mayor Mike McGinn follows through on his intention of having a second gun “buyback,” he better set it up somewhere besides an open parking lot under the freeway.
What happened there last weekend was something of a fiasco, leaving McGinn furious that several enterprising gun rights activists showed up with pockets full of cash to offer real money instead of gift cards or IOUs. Many of the guns they came away with were definitely sporting in nature.
One might ask McGinn what he was thinking when he scheduled this event in an open air environment. “McGinn’s Freeway Firearms” had a rather poor business model, which is why the competition ran him ragged.
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