Josh is telling Mayor Greg Nickels not to use yesterday’s post-rave mass shooting on Capitol Hill as an excuse to crack down on teen dances.
He’s not the only person trying to re-direct the impulse to crack down on something in the wake of such a tragedy.
This morning I watched an online video of Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske’s press conference after the shooting, and heard a pretty clear call from the chief for a crackdown on something other than under-age dance parties. Kerlikowske, sensibly, seems to want a crackdown on the kind of weapons that enabled so many young people to be killed so efficiently.
Here’s how Kerlikowske described the arsenal the shooter brought to the Capitol Hill after-party where he killed six people and then himself:
He was carrying a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun. And of course as everyone knows, a pistol-grip shotgun is designed not for hunting purposes, but for hunting people. He also had a semi-automatic handgun, and he fired multiple rounds with both weapons.
That language — “not for hunting purposes, but for hunting people” — is commonly used by gun control advocates.
Filling out the image of an urban people-hunter armed with weapons that probably shouldn’t be so easily available, Kerlikowske also noted that the shooter, who has not yet been identified, was wearing bandoliers, which are ammunition belts that drape over the shoulder and across a person’s chest. Note the plural: bandoliers. When he burst into the house the shooter was wearing multiple bandoliers stuffed with shotgun shells, and had additional clips at the ready for his semi-automatic handgun. He fired dozens of rounds inside the house, Kerlikowske said at the press conference.
It’s not surprising that gun control was on Kerlikowske’s mind yesterday. As has been reported, less than 24 hours before the shooting Kerlikowske was given an award by Washington Ceasefire, this state’s major gun control group. The group’s web site doesn’t say exactly what the award was for, but I bet it was for his lobbying to close the “gun show loophole,” which allows people in Washington to buy fierarms at gun shows without background checks.
Seventeen other states have closed the gun show loophole. Not Washington. This year, two bills to close the loophole died in the state legislature.
“We’ve traced guns back that had been involved in crimes that were obtained at gun shows,ā€¯ Kerlikowske told King 5 TV in December, in a report that’s posted on Washington Ceasefire’s web site.
I wonder: When they trace the weapons used in the Capitol Hill shooting back to their original source, will the original source be an under-regulated gun show?
To drive home the flimsiness of the current gun show regulations, here’s how a former local U.S. Attorney described Washington’s gun show loophole to King 5:
Osama Bin Laden could walk into a gun show in Washington state and purchase a semi-automatic easily changeable into a fully-automatic assault rifle no questions asked, no records run.