Is Gun Control Failing Fatally in Washington State?

6th Nov 2019

Ammoland Inc. Posted on by Dave Workman

Despite several recently-enacted gun control measures in Washington State, the number of murders has climbed in the past three years. (Dave Workman)

U.S.A. –-( Two homicides over the weekend in Seattle, Washington—headquarters city of the Northwest’s wealthiest and most active gun control lobbying organization—may not seem like much compared to a weekend in Chicago, but for the Jet City, it may be a sign that gun control efforts over the past few years are failing to live up to expectations.

According to Seattle’s KOMO, the two unrelated slayings bring the total number of homicides this year to 35, but that figure may not be accurate. Ammoland News spoke with the Seattle Police Department and the unofficial count there is 27, placing the city on par with the same time last year. If so, the city could end with around 32 slayings by Dec. 31, unless the pace picks up heading into the holiday season.

And this is where gun control proponents may have some explaining to do.

In 2014, following a $10.2 million campaign financed largely by wealthy Seattle-area elitists with help from billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Washington voters adopted Initiative 594, the so-called “universal background check” measure. It was supposed to prevent so-called “gun violence.” Yet since that measure passed, there have been two high-profile mass shootings in Washington, both in 2016. In one case the killer passed a background check, and in the other the gunman took his stepfather’s rifle without permission.

In the summer of 2015, the Seattle City Council hastily passed a “gun violence tax” ordinance that assesses a $25 fee for each firearm sold, plus five cents for each centerfire round and two cents for each rimfire round of ammunition sold inside the city. In 2016, the first full year of the tax being in effect, there were 18 homicides, according to Seattle Police data. The following year saw 28 homicides. Last year, there were 32 killings inside the city, and while not all of those slayings involved firearms, the number of murders has crept steadily upward since the gun tax and the background check measures became law.

Last November, following another multi-million-dollar campaign effort, Evergreen State voters passed Initiative 1639, about which Ammoland has reported twice in recent days.

There is now a robust grassroots repeal effort underway with nearly every gun store, gun show and other sportsman-friendly entities all accepting signatures on petitions for Initiative 1094. From anecdotal evidence on social media, thousands of signatures have already been gathered and momentum is continuing to build. Ammoland spoke last week with one small gun retailer in North Bend east of Seattle, and he said everyone who has walked into the shop has signed.

So, the question now dogging the gun control crowd is simple. How has this gun control agenda helped anybody?

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for the years 2016-2018, the number of murders in Washington State has gradually crept upward. In 2015, there were 209 murders of which 141 involved firearms, but that dropped significantly by Washington standards to 195 total slayings and 127 involving guns in 2016.

But the period during which I-594 should have been initially showing an impact shows the opposite. In 2017, there were 228 murders in the state of which 134 involved guns. Last year, there were 232 killings, and 138 of those were committed with firearms.

It may not be an “epidemic” as often described by the gun prohibition lobby, but it doesn’t indicate any downward trend one might expect if background checks and gun taxes were having an impact.

None of this compare to Chicago, where the weekend saw at least three more people murdered and ten wounded in shootings across the city, according to the local NBC affiliate.

The website reports 408 Windy City homicides so far this year and 1,972 people wounded. That’s more people than are murdered in the entire state of Washington in any given year.

Chicago is often held up as the epitome of gun control failure.