Tuesday’s widely reported remarks by Deputy Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz that Seattle’s upsurge in violence is a problem with guns, not gangs has alarmed and infuriated Northwest gun owners, including Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Even KING 5 News reported that Seattle police brass “downplayed gang violence as a factor” in the current surge of homicides and shootings. Gottlieb thinks that is a head-in-the-sand approach.
Public reaction can be gauged by reading hundreds of comments left at the websites of KOMO and the Seattle Times. Metz’ assertion is not getting much traction with gun owners.
Responding to Metz’ comments, Gottlieb took off the gloves, noting that, “It is easier to blame guns than to confront gangs and a thug culture that glorifies violence and disobeys existing gun laws.”
The fireworks are erupting as community leaders reportedly plan another meeting Wednesday evening at the Garfield Community Center, starting at 6:30. The center is just a few blocks west from the murder scene at East Cherry and Martin Luther King Jr. Way where last Thursday, Justin Ferrari, who drove right into the path of a bullet, was killed. The thug who fired that shot – apparently aimed at someone across the street with whom the unidentified gunman was arguing – has not been apprehended, Seattle police confirmed Wednesday morning. SPD spokesman Mark Jamieson assured the Examiner that the manhunt is very much on.
Somebody in the Rainier Valley knows the identity of that killer, and they are keeping silent. Whose fault is that, the National Rifle Association’s maybe?
“With all due respect, Chief Metz needs to say that to the more than 365,000 law-abiding gun owners who now possess active concealed pistol licenses and haven’t fired a shot in Seattle or anywhere else, except in self-defense. He needs to make that assertion to the estimated one million gun owners in Washington State who do not deserve being lumped in with a bunch of criminals who cannot legally own or carry firearms.”—CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb
All of this is unfolding as more information is released about the suspect in Saturday’s non-fatal shooting at the Seattle Center by a 19-year-old gang thug with whom police are reportedly familiar. The suspect, William Diaz, epitomizes the problem in Seattle, and it’s not firearms, but recidivist punks who misuse them.
According to reports from KIRO and the Seattle Times, Diaz – now being held in the King County Jail on $500,000 bail – has seven misdemeanor convictions including one for “domestic violence interference,” the latter a rap that possibly disqualifies him from owning or possessing a firearm under existing law. He is also reportedly a member of the Little Valley Lokote gang that is a branch of the Sureno gang. His criminal history dates back to age 14, and he has been in trouble for tagging, minor-in-possession of alcohol, trespassing and the domestic violence beef. He’s already got two Seattle-area arrests this year, the Times reported.
When Diaz was nabbed by police as he ran from the shooting that left an innocent bystander wounded in the leg, he was reportedly packing a .22-caliber revolver with four empty shell casings and two live rounds in the cylinder. At age 19, as this column noted, he is too young to have a concealed pistol license, and with his background, he couldn’t get one, anyway.
CCRKBA’s Gottlieb is particularly offended by the “blame-the-guns” approach because he said gun rights activists, and especially his organization, has always been willing to meet with community leaders to discuss crime and possible solutions. It was one of his former employees who spearheaded the famous “Three Strikes and You’re Out” effort that caught fire and became the law not only in Washington, but several other states. The subsequent “Hard Time for Armed Crime” effort, he will point out, was overwhelmingly supported by the firearms community, while the self-appointed “progressives” have disdained both strategies, instead focusing on gun prohibition. About that, he had this to say:
“We would be delighted to work toward solutions that do not blame, or penalize, law-abiding citizens or seek to erode their firearm civil rights. The fact that our telephones have not been ringing off the hook with invitations of participation suggests that Seattle politicians are more interested in exploiting crime than reducing it.”—Alan Gottlieb
Gottlieb will be speaking to Republicans about gun rights and Second Amendment-related activities in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon at their state convention.
Meanwhile out there, Ferrari’s killer remains on the loose, and there are other testosterone junkies juiced up on their own bravado, looking for trouble and any excuse to ignite it.
It’s just possible the firearms community might “meet” Metz halfway and agree that the problem is guns in the wrong hands. But it is an absolute certainty that the law-abiding gun owners will draw the proverbial line in the sand if the city’s proposed solutions to that problem come anywhere close to infringing upon, or impairing their constitutionally-protected civil right.
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