On Wednesday we posted a little item on Mayor Nickels' gun ban and what the current mayoral candidates thought of it. Showing a picture of>"/>
On Wednesday we posted a little item on Mayor Nickels' gun ban and what the current mayoral candidates thought of it. Showing a picture of a gun-toting squirrel; calling gun-owners "nuts"; it was, to say the least, a little kneejerk.
I don't own a gun. I've only fired a rifle a few times in my life. And I'm generally afraid of the ferocity with which some people bind themselves to the second amendment and their weapons. But that doesn't mean I'm not wrong, in this instance, to give automatic support to an idea that may be an attempt by the Mayor to fix a problem that doesn't exist...
Don Ward covered this at length recently but it's worth repeating: Nickels' ban is going to cost the city a lot of money and a lot of time in court on a lawsuit we're eventually going to lose. Whether it's true, as Dave Workman of the Second Amendment Foundation posits, that Nickels the lame-duck is trying to angle his way into a job with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group he helped create, or not is almost besides the point. The point is that it's not going to do what Nickels says he hopes it will: protect people.
As PostGlobe reported, Nickels' justifications for the ban (beyond the obvious goodwill he hopes to engender by telling people he's keeping guns away from your children) comes down to a a few compelling incidents. Here are a few of those he provided:
- In June, a group of teen boys flashed a gun at several girls outside of the Alki Community Center.
- Last December, a former Franklin High School basketball player was shot in the face outside the Garfield Community Center.
- In 2004, a woman was shot dead at a Red Cross shelter set up in the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill.
- After a man shot and injured three people at the 2008 Folklife Festival, Nickels directed city departments to evaluate rules, policies and leases related to guns. The suspect in last year's shooting had a concealed weapons permit and a history of mental health problems.
Now I've gone back and read accounts of each incident. To think that a simple sign would have stopped any of them from happening is crazy. Donnie Cheatham gets shot in the face outside of Garfield Community Center. Does he still get shot if, moments before pulling the trigger, Cheatham's shooter sees a sign saying guns aren't allowed on the premises? Of course. If you've already made up your mind that committing a felony is something you're cool with, a highly-visible posting warning you of the consequences of said actions isn't going to stop you. (In fact, it might just encourage you to take a little target practice. Kidding.)
In the case of the Nickels' gun ban, it's easy to focus on the key words -- kids, guns, playgrounds, safety -- and lose sight of the actual costs. This fight is going to take a long time, cost a lot of money and, ultimately, probably not accomplish a thing. As Attorney General Rob McKenna has said all along, the clock doesn't start until Olympia checks in.
As Don Ward first wrote, the cycle of this story is predictable: "Shake 'n Bake. The story is written on Friday. Ignored over the weekend. And forgotten the following week. At least until another press release is sent out." Only now the ban is actually here. So all that worrying over how much money we're going to spend and how much time it will take to settle this...that story no longer belongs to the hypothetical world of the press release. Now we're livin' in it.