You would think that if ever there was a political climate favorable for gun control legislation, it would be here. With the state reeling from the third police killing in two months, legislators surely feel the need to do something. A proposed assault weapons ban, to be introduced in the coming legislative session, would seem like a place to start.
Yet only one week after Washington CeaseFire held a press conference to announce the planned bill, its prospects look dim. “Frustrating, that would be the word,” CeaseFire president Ralph Fascitelli says, speaking of the reaction he’s getting from key politicians as he lobbies for the proposal.
“We don’t have the votes,” he recalls House Speaker Frank Chopp telling him recently. Fascitelli says the powerful Seattle Democrat alluded to a bloc of approximately 20 representatives in his party who are opposed to gun control legislation. In any case, Chopp told Fascitelli, he was preoccupied by the budget and upcoming elections.
Contrary to a report last week in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Police Department has not officially come out in favor of an assault weapons ban although it is “supportive of the work CeaseFire is doing,” according to spokesperson Mark Jamieson. “We understand that discussion of gun rights legislation is polarizing,” he says.
While the bill has yet to be introduced and debated, Fascitelli already sounds bitter. When it comes to gun control, he says, “there is no leadership in this state.”
A frustrated, bitter bigot. Sounds like we are doing something right in this state.