Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels might be having second thoughts about moving forward with his controversial "dangerous weapons" ban. The executive order would effectively prohibit the

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Is Mayor Nickels Backing Off On Gun Ban?

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels might be having second thoughts about moving forward with his controversial "dangerous weapons" ban. The executive order would effectively prohibit the possession of firearms on most city-owned properties. The ban has naturally drawn the criticism of Second Amendment rights groups and also Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has stated that it violates state preemption statutes.

In March, we wrote that the Mayor's office was still planning on following through with the ban, with it taking effect "sometime in May". Last year, a concealed pistol license (CPL) holder shot and wounded two people at the 2008 Folklife Festival on the Seattle Center grounds.

Although the exact cause of the shooting is still sketchy, Nickels used the incident to publicly call for the ban, holding a widely televised press conference announcing the fact some days after the shooting. Last December, a public forum was held in City Hall, attended by several of the city's department heads to gauge the public's opinion on the measure.

Over that timeline, however, the Mayor appears to have either cooled on the issue or at least become more surreptitious. Nickels has been a vocal proponent of tougher gun control laws. The one-year anniversary of the Folklife Shooting--a logical date for the gun-ban announcement--came and went over a week ago.

The Mayor's office has been vague on the issue, saying simply that an announcement hasn't been made yet. The Seattle Weekly has called to clarify the issue but follow up questions have not been answered.

The lack of action is surprising, particularly to opponents of the ban.

Alan Gottlieb, of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation said that his organization had prepared legal action, lined up plaintiffs and was going to file a lawsuit the day that Nickels put his executive order in place.

"They have a dead-bang loser in court and they know we were going to sue," Gottlieb challenged. "The Mayor talks a good game but he hasn't put his cards on the table yet."

Although puzzled by the inaction, Gottlieb theorized that the Mayor could be seeking a middle ground out of the situtation.

"I have a feeling we won't see this executive order," Gottlieb predicted.

Or it could be there are too many issues on the Mayor's plate for Nickels to expend political capital, pursuing an issue that is palatable only to his staunchest followers. Viewed as generally unpopular by even Seattle liberals, the Mayor faces a host of primary challengers in this year's election.

Larger projects have also gotten in the way. Legislators in Olympia could have modified preemption statutes, allowing cities to enact their own gun control legislation. Instead, city lobbyists focused on bending legislators' ears for projects like replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct and fixing the Mercer Mess.

Glancing through the Mayor's schedule, other topics major and mundane have filled his May calendar; everything from speaking to the Environmental Protection Agency to attending grip-and-grins with local grocers advocating reusable bags.

 
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