From the Second Amendment Foundation yesterday:
For Immediate Release: 12/15/2008
BELLEVUE, WA – Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is asserting that he has the authority to skirt Washington State’s long-standing firearms preemption statute, but in a 2006 letter to House Speaker Frank Chopp, he admitted that state law prevents him from taking any such action.
The letter is being made public at tonight’s special hearing at City Hall by Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.
In his letter to Speaker Chopp, dated May 4, 2006, Mayor Nickels acknowledged that “State law preempts any and all local regulations related to firearms. Our hands are tied at the local level and we are unable to adopt any local laws to protect our residents from gun crime.”
“This is what Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office told Mayor Nickels in October,” Gottlieb noted. “Despite all of his bluster over the past six months, it is evident now that Mayor Nickels has known all along he cannot ban legally-carried firearms, by executive order, by ordinance or by wishing upon a star. He knew this in 2006 and he was reminded of it two months ago by McKenna’s office.
“Mayor Nickels has tried to capitalize on a single unfortunate incident at the Seattle Center,” he continued, “in order to push his long-standing anti-rights agenda. More than 20 years ago, the state legislature wisely enacted our common-sense preemption law that is now preventing the mayor from acting like a monarch, answerable to nobody. Essentially, he wants to use executive authority as though it were a royal decree, to not only defy state statute, but also to violate our state constitutional right-to-bear-arms provision.
“The May 2006 letter to Speaker Chopp clearly proves that the mayor knows he cannot legally do this,” Gottlieb said. “If Mayor Nickels goes forward with this ban, he will leave the Second Amendment Foundation no alternative than to take immediate legal action to stop him.”
For Immediate Release: 12/16/2008
BELLEVUE, WA – When a cross-section of firearms owners gathered at Seattle City Hall Monday night to oppose Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ gun ban scheme, the mayor was nowhere in sight to defend his plan, and the Second Amendment Foundation wonders why.
“If ever an audience reflected the kind of diversity that elitists like Greg Nickels normally rave about, Monday night’s turnout of gun owners certainly measured up,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “There were gays, straights, men and women, including one self-described feminist Democrat party activist. I was proud of the broad spectrum represented by the firearms community.
“Under any other circumstances,” he continued, “Mayor Nickels and other Seattle establishment insiders would be drawn to such a group like moths to a flame. But these were law-abiding gun owners, outraged over the mayor’s arrogant plan to ignore state statute and advice from the state attorney general. In short, it was an audience of citizens that Nickels and his ilk claim to represent, saying that he doesn’t. The mayor wanted no part of such a public embarrassment.
“Mayor Nickels started this controversy by proposing the gun ban,” Gottlieb observed, “yet he lacked the intestinal fortitude to defend his scheme before the very people who would suffer. Elitists like Nickels are always quick to sneer about ‘cowardly gun owners,’ but when he had the chance to face them, he vanished.
“Many department heads were there to take the heat,” Gottlieb added, “except for Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske. It is not clear whether he skipped the meeting because he doesn’t care for armed citizens, or because he was still out looking for his stolen pistol, which is more of a threat to public safety than anybody who testified at Monday night’s hearing.
“This proposed gun ban is nonsense,” he concluded. “It will not prevent a single crime. It will only leave citizens more vulnerable. As usual, Mayor Nickels chooses symbolism over safety, and he is clearly afraid to face the people whose rights he plans to abrogate.”