January 14, 2010
Mr. Phil Rockefeller
I am writing to you concerning Senate Bill 6396 (Now in Judiciary), which proposes to place heavy restrictions on many firearms. Though the word “assault” is used in describing these firearms (I think, erroneously), the fact is the bill covers just about any semi-automatic firearm sold today. As I understand it, this bill is a reaction to several police officer fatalities we have experienced in Washington in the last half of 2009.
I join you and all our citizens in condemning those needless deaths. I trust the perpetrators of these crimes can be brought to swift justice. However, I have to wonder what the bill proposes to change, realistically. Is the idea to ‘save lives’ by reducing the number of people potentially killed by firearms? It would seem to me that this is the only reasonable justification to introduce such restrictions—to make people safer.
California has had very restrictive gun laws for some time, including some of the very same restrictions proposed in SB6396. Yet take a look at what has happened in California.
In 2008, the last year full statistics are available, California experienced 1,487 homicides involving firearms. The population was 36,961,664 giving them one firearm-related death per 24,856 citizens. (69% involved handguns.)
In 2008, Washington State experienced 110 homicides involving firearms. The population was 6,664,195 giving us one firearm-related death per 60,583 citizens. (57.89% involved handguns)
Given these statistics, the sources of which are below, how can you justify this bill? Are there any statistics whatsoever that prove such restrictions will save any lives whatsoever? California’s death rate is over twice Washington’s despite its many restrictions.
No, there are not. The FBI reports that the first half of 2009 saw a 10% decrease in murders over 2008 and that it is 51% lower than in 1991 giving us the lowest rate since 1963. Yet firearms sales have skyrocketed in the same period. National ‘instant check’ transactions rose 24.5% in the first half of 2009, reflecting citizens’ worries about gun control legislation.
Accordingly, SB6396 does not deserve your support. It is a ‘reaction bill’ not based on any scientific or statistical evidence which will not have any effect on the murder rate of our citizens whatsoever.
Michael R. Schuyler
Source: FBI Crime statistics, Criminal Justice Information Services Division
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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