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Friday, December 8, 2006

And the Non-Impact of the Democrats

posted by on December 8 at 16:04 PM

The top agenda items in Olympia for Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske are closing the gun-show loophole and renewing the assault-weapons ban. This hardly constitutes a move to nullify the Second Amendment, but rather it’s tailored legislation to make our city streets and our cops safer.

Well, the city is complaining that despite the Democrats’ new 62-36 advantage in the house (a mandate if there ever was one) Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) is shy about moving forward on those two issues now.

I asked Representative Chopp about this yesterday.
Here’s what he said:

When you get to gun control you have to keep perspective. We’ve got plans moving forward on all these issues [Chopp talked about health-care coverage, fully funding education, and energy independence] and there’s a few issues on the margin that we’re still trying to sort out. I think the gun issue will divide our caucus. And that’s a problem. There are some people [in our caucus] who think you oughta have a right to a gun.

When I’m trying to get a political agenda done, which is very progressive, I need to have a unified caucus. I’m willing to sit down with Kerlikowske, but the first time he’s ever asked me for a meetig is like two days ago. So, I’ll think about it. I’ll check with our caucus members. I don’t know.

RSS icon Comments


Couldn't we have a city or county ordinance regarding guns. If I still lived in the stick I with have kept my Winchester and Colt .22 pistol for plinking. I just don't have need for a gun in the city unless I plan on shooting myself.

Posted by elswinger | December 8, 2006 4:31 PM

Much ado about nothing - this will all go smoothly in the end.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 8, 2006 4:42 PM

Closing the gun show loophole has nothing to do with whether anyone "oughta have a right to a gun." It merely prevents me from exercising my right to buy a gun in a way that's completely untraceable and unaccountable.

Posted by But Frank | December 8, 2006 4:48 PM

But pursuing gun control could well turn some of those emerging blue counties red again in the next election (think South Snohomish/North Pierce/Spokane/etc) - make no mistake about it.

Frank is not wrong on this one.

Posted by Mr. X | December 8, 2006 4:50 PM

This specific issue is secondary to the underlying problem: Frank Chopp is a spineless wimp.

He's a pathetic leader for the Dems and an embarrassment to his district. What's the value of charisma, institutional knowledge, and bi-partisan savvy if you never make a touchdown for your own team?

"When I’m trying to get a political agenda done, which is very progressive, I need to have a unified caucus."

Very progressive...? I can't think of many progressive bills that Frank hasn't personally sought to quash, in the name of helping his own party, of course.

Right now it just looks like he is playing king of the hill with his base and hoping the GOP doesn't catch a peek. The 45th district and The Stranger ought to mobilize Frank’s ass out of the legislature and back to Tully’s, the only place he gets anything done.

PS – I wouldn’t normally criticize my own, but, the point is, with a 62-36 advantage we can’t lose. So grow a set, Frank!

Posted by Danny D. | December 8, 2006 5:00 PM

43rd Dirstict, my typo.

Posted by Danny D. | December 8, 2006 5:06 PM

Mr. X,
I understand Chopp's POV on this, and over-the-top gun control isn't a big issue for me. But these measures don't jar the 2nd Amendment and are serious issues for the SPD.

Seattle (and Seattle money) is a big reason the Democrats have such a big majority in Olympia. Kerlilowske and Seattle deserve respect on this.

Posted by Josh Feit | December 8, 2006 5:07 PM


What about marriage equality or civil unions?

My would-be hubby is gonna be sweatin'.

We've been together since college and it's time to make it legal.

Posted by Original Andrew | December 8, 2006 5:17 PM

So I guess pedestrian safety isn't as high on his list and the City said it would be, huh?

Posted by Gomez | December 8, 2006 6:07 PM

I'll translate Chopp for you, Josh:

Posted by Whacky | December 8, 2006 6:49 PM

Does anyone honestly believe either will make any difference in the crime rate? As if someone who wants a gun and find they can't at a gun show won't go out on the street and get one within an hour? Or that "assault weapons" (the word has no real meaning) are responsible for more than a tiny fraction of 1% of gun crimes. I say that as a non-gun-owner who is not fond of guns.

But this is simply for political show purposes, to demonstrate you're on the right side of the issue, even though the issue is of no real importance.

Posted by Mrobvious | December 8, 2006 8:21 PM

Frankly, I want the Legislature to focus on anything but this. Gun control--even the more sensible proposals--is a losing issue that won't change a damn thing if it passes except losing votes to the Republicans.

Posted by Cascadian | December 8, 2006 11:11 PM

It sounds like Rep. Chopp is taking a pragmatic approach towards focusing on a specific legislative agenda, and he's even willing to go on the record about it. Kudos for honesty.

I've had a concealed carry permit for over a year, but haven't had a gun small enough to actually carry downtown. I'm interested in buying a small-ish pistol, but didn't realize we have a lenient gun show background verfication regime. Thanks, Stranger, for the heads up - I'll have to check out the local gun show scene.


Posted by uf911 | December 17, 2006 11:16 PM

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