June 17, 2020
By Larry Keane
The following is a perspective by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The crisis in Seattle is revealing gun control politicians are only interested in enforcing gun laws on the law abiding. When it comes to actual criminals, they’ve abandoned their citizens.
Video surfaced of “Raz the Warlord” of Seattle’s infamous Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), or recently renamed the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), handing out AR-15s from his Tesla’s trunk.
This is the same city and state that’s crushing law abiding gun owners with layers of gun control laws, yet when the laws for which they voted are blatantly violated, there are no repercussions. Seattle Police confirmed a department-wide letter warned police not to respond to calls within the CHAZ, unless there’s a mass casualty, active shooter or structural fires. A police spokesperson clarified police are responding to calls, asking callers to meet them outside CHAZ barricades.
“Seattle is not under siege and we are responding to every call and every area of the city,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told CNN. “Admittedly there are barricades that prevent us from going in as quickly and efficiently as we like to. We recognize that we have to make sure we protect everyone’s safety in this situation.”
AR-15 Tesla Truck Special
Gun control zealots in Washington, including Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, have shown little interest in enforcing existing gun control laws. This is the case even after videos of Activist Raz Simone, a hip-hop artist known as “Raz the Warlord” allegedly was seen in a livestream video on YouTube handing out AR-15s from the trunk of his Tesla. That’s a violation of Seattle’s safe storage ordinance.
“Somebody over there who’s 18 know how to use a gun?” asks a figure believed to be Simone. He’s later seen in the video carrying an AK-47 and a holstered handgun on his right leg.
One young man raises his hand and responds, “18.”
“Take the clip out and put it back in,” Simone instructs him.
“No one’s going to f****** ask me why I’m walking around with an AR-15?”
“No, just come right back here,” Simone instructs before telling him, “Keep the barrel down.”
“I got you, just don’t say any names,” Simone’s warns before the video ends.
Laws, If You Enforce Them
Seattle Police Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette told reporters that Washington is an open-carry state but it is illegal to use a firearm, or other instruments, with the purpose of intimidation. No arrests of gun wielding or gun distributing “protesters” have occurred.
However, there are several other firearm violations happening here. NSSF warned against passing the following laws, knowing they wouldn’t contribute to public safety. NSSF warned these laws would be selectively enforced, encumbering law abiding citizens while gun control politicians would look the other way at actual criminals.
Washington was the first state to pass universal background checks in 2014, requiring all transfers, even between two private parties, to be facilitated by a federal firearms licensee with a completed background check. In 2018, voters extended by referendum I-1639, a law that required those background checks to include semiautomatic long guns and to be completed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the Washington State Patrol electronic database, the Department of Social and Health Services’ electronic database and other agencies or resources as appropriate.
None of that happened. Apparently, state law does not apply in the autonomous zone. The depth of Simone’s background check was asking, but not verifying, that the bystander was 18. That’s another state law broken. Washington’s I-1639 also only allows those under 21 to possess semiautomatic long guns at their home or business, on a range or to and from lawful outdoor recreational activities. It also requires so-called “assault rifles” to be secured when transferring between parties. The video clearly shows Simone handing the supposedly 18-year-old an AR-15, modern sporting rifle with a magazine inserted.
Simone also immediately handed the AR-15 to the man, completely disregarding Washington’s required 10-day waiting period before any transfer of a semiautomatic firearm can be completed. That was also part of the voter-approved I-1639 law, as was the state’s required training certificate to take possession of any so-called semiautomatic “assault rifle.” That training is intended to provide “… instruction on basic firearms safety rules; firearms and children, including secure gun storage and talking to children about gun safety; firearms and suicide prevention; secure gun storage to prevent unauthorized access and use; safe handling of firearms; and state and federal firearms laws, including prohibited firearms transfers.”
Fair Weather Gun Control
So far, though, Gov. Inslee and Mayor Durkan haven’t seen a problem with illegal gun transfers brazenly being broadcasted from their city. That’s a far cry from gun crisis Gov. Inslee and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson bemoaned just seven months ago.
“We should be making it harder for those who want to inflict mass violence and destruction upon innocent people,” Gov. Inslee said. “By limiting magazine capacity and banning assault weapons, we can work toward a day where no one in Washington state loses a friend or family members to senseless gun violence.”
AG Ferguson went further, calling for California-style background checks for the sale of ammunition too.
Now, though, when protests turn to vigilantism, Mayor Durkan dismisses the gross violation of gun laws as a “block party” and “summer of love.” Gov. Inslee made the highly dubious claim that he wasn’t even aware of the crisis until President Donald Trump tweeted it.
This, unfortunately, verifies what we’ve known. Gun control laws are only followed by those who obey the law. It’s also a reminder that criminals have no respect for the law. Apparently, neither do the politicians who write those laws.
National Shooting Sports Foundation aims to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide.