Cafe Racer Shooting
As Jonathan Golob explains (see facing page), part of what makes tragedies like the Cafe Racer shooting possible is the gutting of our state's social services network at the altar of Ayn Rand. But you know what else helped make this tragedy possible?
"It's no surprise to me this happened," the shooter's brother told the Seattle Times. "We could see this coming."
And yet no one took away his gun. I mean, how could they? It was his Second Amendment right.
And Washington has some of the most lenient gun laws in the nation, most notably our "gun show loophole," through which up to 40 percent of private firearm sales occur without a background check. Despite a history of mental illness and a rap sheet tinged with violence, mass killer Ian Stawicki legally registered six handguns. But even if Stawicki had been flagged within the federal database, that still wouldn't have stopped him from purchasing weapons in Washington through a private dealer.
In the immediate wake of the Cafe Racer tragedy, Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes both vowed to explore ways to toughen Seattle's gun regulations, but the state's "preemption" statute makes that nearly impossible, banning all local ordinances that are "inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of" our state's permissive gun laws.
Guns kill people. Not by themselves, of course. Somebody's got to pull the trigger. But it's the gun that fires the bullet that shatters both the body of its victim and the lives of their loved ones. And if guns weren't so easy to obtain, tragedies like this wouldn't happen nearly so often.
So just once, instead of denying that guns have much of anything to do with gun violence, I would like to hear opponents of sensible gun control regulation explain to the children, spouses, friends, and other loved ones of the victims that the freedom to carry a gun comes at a cost.
Because honestly, deep down, that's what gun control opponents believe—that tragedies like this are a small price to pay for their Second Amendment privilege. They just don't have the balls to admit it.