Yesterday Seattle Weekly's Rick Anderson posted to Daily Weekly about Ian Stawicki, and more specifically possible gun laws that might have prevented him from going on his deadly rampage last week.
There is at least one certainty about the otherwise inexplicable Ian Stawicki. He was mad but not quite mad enough. He punched out his brother and broke his girlfriend's nose. His wild-eyed anger scared people. His father thought he was "crazy." But under state law he couldn't be forcibly committed. Yet he could legally carry a gun, and owned six of them. As Dan Turner puts it, "He didn't break the law until he pulled out a pistol and started shooting."
... writing in the Los Angeles Times last week, Turner, one of the paper's editorial writers, wondered if Stawicki might have been thwarted had Washington adopted one of California's gun statutes.
The slaughter at Cafe Racer "might have happened anywhere, even in California," he allows. "But it's notable that in California, he probably wouldn't have been legally allowed to walk around armed in public."
Not surprisingly, the post inspired a substantial amount of reader feedback.
Does California do background checks when someone applies for a driver's license? Do they go out and interview friends and family to make sure the person is of sound state of mind? Do they get fingerprinted at the DMV? Probably not, yet it is just as easy to get behind the wheel and mow into a crowd of people, or bust through a shops entrance, causing just as much damage and destruction as with a gun.
Fritz Sands writes:
This is an incredibly stupid article. Even if WA went to a "may issue" concealed license (which I strongly oppose), Stawicki could still own all the guns he wanted. He went to Cafe Racer in order to kill people. He wasn't going to be deterred by breaking one extra law on his way to multiple murders. The fact that in WA state his family could not commit him when they clearly feared that he was violently crazy is a much more solvable problem. The fact that the police and prosecutors walked away from a domestic violence charge with significant physical evidence is another problem.
Logical Thinker writes:
According to the article he punched out his brother and broke his girlfriend's nose. If he would have been prosecuted for those crimes, especially the domestic violence against his girlfriend it would have been illegal for him to own a gun. His brother and girlfriend must have chosen not to report those crimes to the police. So it wasn't a lack of laws but a lack of enforcement of existing laws that allowed this to happen. If his family would have acted on what they knew they could have prevented him from legally owning guns but someone who is planning to murder people really doesn't care what other laws they break in the process.