While others in City Hall were still asking the question, what can we do in the wake of Seattle's wave of gun violence?, City Council member Sally Bagshaw was trying to answer it. She's "working on a coordinated plan," she tells us, but has already laid out a series of steps the city can begin taking immediately. "Are we serious about public safety?" she asks. If so,"Here are sixteen things we can actually do," including making major changes to state gun laws.
Let's assume we have the collective will to stop the gun violence and bring calm back to our city. We've said we wanted to make our streets and neighborhoods safe for years. Debates about gun laws and their effectiveness have raged for decades. How do we start anew?
It's a question most of us heard, read or asked following Stawicki's rampage. Bagshaw therein drew up Sally's 16, a list of "immediate short-term actions to long-term strategies, that together we can work to achieve."
The city's police force is stretched thin, we know that. Nonetheless, we must put more trained officers visibly on the street to calm fears and deter further violence....Because our detective unit has been reduced in size and the shootings have increased in number, our detectives have had to stop investigating some cases mid-stream to start investigating the next. Our detective unit has been cut down to the bare bones; more support is needed.
Our officers are tracking down leads and investigating the cases, but they can't do it alone. They need help from eyewitnesses, and the sooner we can identify the shooters and get them off the streets, the safer we all will be....We who live in this community - youth and adults - are the only ones who can break the code of silence and start a new safe way of being. The code of silence perpetuates fear and death.
Background checks should be required for every firearm sold in the state, including at gun shows; permits should be required for the open carry of firearms; guns should be banned from parks, community centers, and other public locations; handguns should be micro-stamped; the authority of state and local gun-trafficking investigations should be expanded and a law restricting large capacity ammunition magazines should be reinstated.
She plans to push her agenda by working with City Attorney Pete Holmes, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, local police, legislators, congressional representatives and neighborhood groups. You can read her detailed list here, and e-mail her here.
"Success will not happen overnight," says Bagshaw, "but we will be incrementally safer every step we take."