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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Universal Background Checks Bill as Dead as a Person Shot With a Gun Purchased Without a Background Check

Posted by on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Well, maybe not, as nothing is ever truly dead in Olympia until the final gavel falls, but state House Democrats fell a few votes short yesterday of passing HB 1588, a bill that would have required background checks on most private sales of guns. Oh sure, lawmakers love to talk about "the will of the people" when it comes to weaseling out of raising taxes, but they certainly didn't let the overwhelming popular support for this measure sway them in the face of the usual threats from the well-armed gun lobby.

And ironically, gun control advocates may have inadvertently enabled this particular act of political cowardice. Rather than perceiving chatter of a well-financed gun control initiative as a political threat, some lawmakers saw it as a convenient way out of casting a politically dicey vote. Why take a bullet from the NRA when Nick Hanauer is willing to put up the money to put it on the ballot?

The shameful truth about this issue is that much of the reluctance to pass universal background checks isn't based on principle. Sure, there are the hard core NRA types. But they're crazy. And most of them are Republicans. And bill sponsors never really counted on Republican support. Nor did they need it.

No, the Democratic fence-sitters who ended up killing this measure don't really feel strongly about it one way or another. The threat of an initiative is normally the threat of more sweeping legislation. It's political extortion: Either pass this modest measure or we'll give you an initiative you'll truly hate. But most of the Democratic opposition would be fine with that, as long as they themselves don't have to publicly cast a vote.

So that's likely where we are—a November ballot initiative that presumably would impose not just universal background checks, but bans on large ammunition magazines and maybe even assault weapons as well. You know, as long as Hanauer puts his money where his mouth is.


Comments (34) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
That person would be just as dead whether or not the owner of the gun had their background checked or not.

So can you PLEASE address the real issue here? Our mental healthcare sucks ass. Let's put our focus on HELPING PEOPLE rather than TAKING AWAY RIGHTS, okay?
Posted by treehugger on March 13, 2013 at 8:47 AM · Report this
Goldy 2
@1 You do not have a right to purchases a gun without a background check. And it's hard to believe that you actually care about mental healthcare, when you clearly don't care about the lives lost each year due to the lack of universal background checks.

Oh, and just to be clear: Most readers here are not so stupid as to buy the crap that it's one or the other—background checks or mental healthcare. So quit your trolling.
Posted by Goldy on March 13, 2013 at 8:54 AM · Report this
@1: You have the right to bear arms, nobody is trying to take away that right. The mental health argument is pointless since a perfectly sane person can right now buy an AR-15 and tons of ammunition, lose their shit mentally speaking, and still have that arsenal without any way of anyone knowing. In this scenario it's the guns that are the problem, not the crazy person. You can't stop someone from going insane (generally speaking), you can stop someone from buying a murder weapon. Guns are the problem when it comes to mass shootings, not the mental health system.

Also, relax. Nothing is going to happen, except possibly a ban on video games.
Posted by derpyderpington on March 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Fnarf 4
@1, background checks would have gone some fair ways towards keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, while taking away exactly ZERO of your rights, dipshit. And the thousands of mouth-breathing paranoids who shoot their family, friends, neighbors, random passersby on the street, or themselves are not "mentally ill", unless you're referring to the same disease you have. Most people just call that "stupidity".

The provisions of this bill had overwhelming support amongst the populace, including gun owners; they CAME FROM gun owners, in response to more confiscatory ideas like the ban on assault weapons. The provisions of this bill were overwhelmingly supported by NRA MEMBERS.

But the NRA isn't interested in reducing gun violence; they're interested in INCREASING it, because increased gun violence means more fear which means more gun sales. You think you have an opinion, @1, but what you really have is a mental illness that makes you shill for the most destructive force in this country. Nice job, asshole.
Posted by Fnarf on March 13, 2013 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Why is everyone so afraid of the NRA?
Posted by Patricia Kayden on March 13, 2013 at 9:50 AM · Report this

No 'ironic' headline from Goldy? What, gang bangers killing other gang bangers' babies isn't funny? Doesn't fit the Stranger's bogus narrative that there are only white mass-shooting bogeymen terrorizing the country every hour of every day?

If only guns were banned these two thugs would've just hugged each other.
Posted by GangBangersMakeUsSafer on March 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM · Report this
#5, because they have 4.5 million members, which is a whole lot more than all the gun control groups combined.

Oh, and Goldy forgot to mention the big reason for the failure: The proposed assault weapons bill that originally gave police the authority to inspect the homes of owners. The sponsors, Adam Kline and Ed Murray, lied through their teeth about it, which fatally undermined their credibility on all gun issues.

Take your complaints to them.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 8
@6: where are you reading that 'bogus narrative'? i'm not reading it on Slog, you must be reading your agenda into it.

and your link does not go where you want it to go.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
"And it's hard to believe that you actually care about mental healthcare, when you clearly don't care about the lives lost each year due to the lack of universal background checks."

Now you are trolling, again.
What statistics do you have for the number of deaths from gun-violence where the gun was obtained without a background check?
You don't have any.

And despite months of me pointing that out, you are still not bothering to collect any information.
And the reason you are still refusing to do so is that real facts will contradict your trolling claims.

You just do not care about X dead Y's!
Yeah. We've all heard it before.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 10
Somebody needs to write "Guns" the musical.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on March 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Goldy 11
@7 Why do you hate the truth? This bill had nothing to do with assault weapons. It was only about background checks. And it was a House bill—Kline and Murray are senators. They had nothing to do with it.

But, you know, anything to cloud the issue, right?
Posted by Goldy on March 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Goldy 12
@9 Obviously, you believe that seven women shot, three dead, with a gun bought without a background check is a small price to pay for the convenience of avoiding background checks.
Posted by Goldy on March 13, 2013 at 11:25 AM · Report this
@5 -- they mobilize members to contact legislators and VOTE based on their interests; the NRA gets them to do this using passion and emotion and narratives connecting guns to founding fathers, liberty and other such emotive abstractions. liberals, in contrast usually make policy arguments that depend on chains of logic and facts and constantly fail to explain how anything connects to our heritage as americans; so they don't rouse many people to political action. they seem to think it's a game of rational argument and debate or something. when they come up with a moral story linking regulation of guns to our founding fathers and american traditions they will win. the sad thing is even wyatt earp banned guns in town to provide civ'lization and such! we actually own history but let the right usurp it too often. So the weak link here is liberal idea leaders are failing to provide the right ideas and messages which are needed to get liberal base folks to actually get out and vote and donate and send e mails to moderate legislators from swing districts based on this issue.

invoking 26 angels from newtown isn't enough. compassion messages only reach about 40% of the public. you want to reach 80%. identifying nra folks with the gun outlaws of the olde west resisting the john wayne sheriff types would be a start.
Posted by we need better mythherostories on March 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Goldy, do you really think the only problem in the case you keep referring to was the shooter's ability to purchase another firearm? Or that he wouldn't have easily been able to find a seller willing to sell to him without a check? (Despite his wife's assertions to the contrary, it would appear that he already owned firearms and did not turn them in on the Judge's demand)…

Here's a couple quotes:
"Haughton ultimately was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct/domestic abuse. The case was dismissed when Haughton's wife and a police officer on the scene did not show, according to records."


"Zina Haughton told police her husband had no guns, but one of the officers on the scene knew from past calls that he was a Marine veteran, who may have had a gun and knew how to use one.

That's when officers spotted Radcliffe Haughton standing in a window.

"He slid open the curtains," the complaint says. "The defendant pointed a long-barreled black object out the window. He aimed this long-barreled object at Zina Haughton who stood three feet away from officers outside.""

Posted by randoma on March 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
#11, the reason the assault weapons bill mattered is because any of the gun legislation requires trust. If they tried to slip inspections and implied confiscation into the one bill, who knows what they'd try to put into this one? I started out as a pretty strong supporter of changes after the Connecticut massacre, but I did a 180 after that assault weapons story came out.

The gun control proponents can't be trusted. I used to think the N.R.A. was a bunch of paranoid nut cases, but now I'm not so sure. In any case, if you disagree, then try an initiative. See how much better you do than the one in 1997 (I-676) that lost 71%-29%. Or do you hate the truth?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Also, #11, when they were caught on the assault weapons bill, they lied. Kline pretended not to know about it, when in fact he'd put the same language into several previous bills. And Murray blamed it on his staff. Look, if these people are going to lie so blatantly when they know that everyone's watching, then what do they expect?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Goldy just got his political nuts cut off and fed to him, and now he's making political threats?

Good luck with that.

Posted by Liberal gun owner who enjoys a democratic majority on March 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
"Obviously, you believe that ..."

And AGAIN that was in WISCONSIN.
Yes, I know that WISCONSIN and Washington both start with the letter "W".
But they are NOT the same place.

So any law passed in WASHINGTON would not apply in WISCONSIN.

And that is what we keep going through here.
Your examples do NOT apply to the laws you claim to be supporting.

And you still refuse to collect facts.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 13, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
@18 And you still refuse to understand that nobody is beholden to a shit-bird like you.
Posted by fairly.unbalenced should eat his gun on March 13, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
blip 20
@18 Every single one of your completely unhinged comments makes a far more eloquent case for gun control than any of Goldy's posts. Your perpetual rage is scary enough without even considering whaf kind of arsenal you're sitting on.
Posted by blip on March 13, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
#20, if gun control advocates really want to succeed, they're going to have to take a long look in the mirror and make a bunch of changes. But that's not going to happen, because just like the Fox-heads, all they do is talk to their own self-righteous selves.

As it concerns guns, though, there are 4.5 million NRA members, several hundred million guns, and about 30%-40% of the households having a gun. And there's the Supreme Court decision that recognized gun ownership and the use of the gun for self-defense as a constitutional right.

But fine, keep talking to just yourselves. See where the fuck it gets you.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 22

I am glad that we have some legislators who choose to be representatives of the people of Washington State, rather than the monied interest of fascist like Bloomberg and Nick Hanauer and hypocrite fear mongers like Feinstein and Giffords .

Thankfully we have had a legislative victory against those who would infringe upon our civil rights.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on March 13, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
blip 23
@21 Actually I was talking to a gun fanatic who obsessively posts different iterations of the same comment in every gun thread. I have no illusions that it will get me nowhere, this being one small corner of the internet and all, and your concern has been noted, however I fail to see your point.
Posted by blip on March 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
We may have set a new SLOG record for fastest gun-control thread to turn into a shitshow.

By my estimate it went South by the second post and spiraled En Fuego from there...
Posted by CPN on March 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 25
@ 18, whoa. That's a pretty spectacular fail. Do you really need for a similar crime to happen in Washington?

That's even more specious than your reductio ad absurdum claim that only a 100% ban on guns will prevent suicide by gunshot.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Boring Dad is Boring 26
I would love nothing more than to see an off-year WA ballot measure larded up with a wish list of every gun control fantasy that's been batted around. Throw in arbitrary rules on semi-auto rifles, semi-auto handguns, an owner registry, background checks, magazines, ammo taxes etc.. You could gather enough signatures in downtown Seattle before lunch on a Tuesday to get it on the ballot.

Then, let's have the vote.
Posted by Boring Dad is Boring on March 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
I supported universal background checks until the assault weapons fiasco came to light. That turn of events had a pretty dramatic impact on my viewpoint, which has always been pro-gun control. I'm not with the wingnuts who think gun control is the leading edge of the Nazi feds, but here you had the leading sponsors of a bill that would've authorized every county sheriff in Washington to enter an "assault" rifle owner's house once a year to insure that the weapon was "properly stored."

When this came to light, the one sponsor (Kline) disavowed any knowledge of the provision, even though the same language had been in his prior legislative proposals on the issue. The other sponsor, Murray, blamed it on his staff. The classic mealy-mouthed evasion. Goldy accuses me of "hating the truth" for pointing out how the incident knocked the wind out of gun conrol sails by discrediting its leading proponents.

Goldy, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I'm sure you'll now portray me as some east of the Cascades wingnut, but it's not true. In the past, I've gone around and around against the N.R.A. paranoid whackjobs on the gun control issue. But I'll tell ya, you lying hypocritical shitbag, this deal with Kline and Murray turned me 180 degrees around anyway. I'd be willing to bet that I'm not the only one.

If you and your self-righteous, listen-only-to-the-voices-inside-your-own-heads, obnoxious, overweening, arrogant shitbags ever hope to make any progress in a state with the nation's most pro-gun legal framework, you'd better drop your superior act, get your shit together, and start making sense.

Did I say fuck you, Goldy, yet? Fuck you, Goldy.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
#26, me too. I remember voting for I-676 and being shocked when it was ground into the pavement like a spent cigarette butt. That's what'll happen this time around too. And it'll happen because the gun control forces refuse to get their shit together, do their homework, and listen to anyone.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
blip 29
"I used to agree with you but your nasty tone ruined everything so I did a complete 180. Also, fuck you and your arrogant incivility."

@27, You're adorable.
Posted by blip on March 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
#29, I never complained about Goldy's tone. I couldn't care less. The Stranger is full of nastiness. It's not a place for people with thin skins. My complaint is with Goldy's hypocrisy and dishonesty. He's no better than the fuckwits of the N.R.A., and neither are you.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
blip 31
@30, Oh I know I'm terrible (it's SLOG), but I'm also not feigning nobility by pretending I've spent time on both sides of the issue. I own my bitchy attitude. All T, all shade, hunty.

Also, when you accuse someone of, let’s see... "arrogance" (see also, "self-righteous," "overweening," "superior act," and the perennial favorite "the horse you rode in on," and that's just one comment!) and insist their attitude is impeding progress, you are indeed reprimanding them for their tone.
Posted by blip on March 13, 2013 at 5:12 PM · Report this
#31, but I have spent time on both sides of the issue. Much more on the pro-gun control side. I could even be coaxed back on the background checks, but only if the proponents take care to elaborate on how that system would work. I am concerned that their list of "bannables" is too long, might not be reliable, is only tangentially related to the risk of using a firearm criminally, and about procedures for sunsets and appeals.

There are lots and lots of detail issues embedded in universal background checks. I hadn't thought about those details until lately. When the attempt to slide a truly scary provision into the assault weapons bill -- which I otherwise would've supported, by the way -- came to light, and then Kline lied about it and Murray dodged, I switched. I guess I'm independent enough to not punch the bar like a lab rat looking for a pellet of food just because a proposal comes from a Democrat.

As for tone, I suppose you have a point. So let me reformulate it. I'm not put off by the hostility here. The Stranger is full of hostility, starting with its own staff. If you can't handle hostility, then no one should be here. But yes, the implied superiority from the Seattle liberal types, who project an assumption that they alone do any thinking when it fact they do just as little of it as anyone in Pasco, does rankle.

Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM · Report this
"whoa. That's a pretty spectacular fail. Do you really need for a similar crime to happen in Washington?"

I can go through this again.

Yes, I know that WISCONSIN and Washington both start with the letter "W".
But they are NOT the same place.
So any law passed in WASHINGTON would not apply in WISCONSIN.

"That's even more specious than your reductio ad absurdum claim that only a 100% ban on guns will prevent suicide by gunshot."

You may not like the statistics but the statistics show that even where guns are more regulated than in Washington people still commit suicide with guns.
But this isn't about suicides, is it?
Because you don't care how many people commit suicide or attempt suicide.
As long as it does not involve a gun.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 13, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
The United States is 18th in per capita suicide rates among the OECD countries. South Korea, which is #1, has very strict gun control but triple the U.S. suicide rate. Facts don't count with the gun control lobby. There are arguments for gun control, but suicide prevention is not one of them.…
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 13, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this

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