For over a decade, lawmakers in Washington state have blamed firearms and the Second Amendment for increases in violent crime, and the anti-gun laws these politicians have created make it harder and more expensive to own and use firearms in the Evergreen State.
Meanwhile, violent crime in Washington state and its largest city continues to surge, something voters should be keenly aware of as we approach the midterm elections.
No doubt, anti-Second Amendment political leaders here will use the increases in crime to argue for ever more “gun control.” Just as certainly, these same people will ignore their own soft-on-crime policies, which include their repeated defunding of police departments, and their continued attempts to blame law-abiding gun owners for rampant crime.
Look no further than the city of Seattle for this dynamic at work. According to a report released in February by no less than Seattle’s own police department, “Overall citywide crime increased by 10% (+4,209) when compared to 2020 totals. Robbery, Aggravated Assaults, and Motor Vehicle Thefts were significantly high this year when compared to a five-year weighted average. Violent Crime increased by 20% (+874 [incidences]). Increases came from Aggravated Assaults (up 24%) and Robbery (up 18%). Aggravated Assault totals are the highest reported in the last 10 years. Several shootings and shots fired events live within this category.”
The Seattle Police Department (PD), it should be noted, is severely understaffed, in no small part thanks to defunding. For 2022, the Seattle City Council cut the PD’s budgets by over $7 million.
This was on top of the $35.6 million the council slashed from the PD’s budget the year before.
Carmen Best, Seattle’s first black female police chief, resigned in 2020—hours after the city council voted on the Seattle PD budget—blaming the city's “overarching lack of respect for the officers.”
As NRA-ILA reported, “over 330 Seattle police officers, out of an authorized force of 1,347 officers, had opted to follow the chief's lead and resigned or retired by last December. This year, an additional 122 officers have left the SPD, and 350 officers will be eligible to retire at the end of 2022.”
With so many slots empty, Seattle PD has had to reprioritize staffing and investigations. One area that has been particularly affected: sexual-assault crimes.
As Seattle radio station KUOW reported in April, “In the last year, Seattle Police have forwarded far fewer sex assault cases to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Meanwhile, arrests for sex crimes involving adults and children have plummeted: This year so far, 1.6% of cases investigated by the sexual assault and child abuse unit have resulted in an arrest, down from 14% in 2019.”
This reporting was based on information initially provided by two Seattle police officers who, for obvious reasons, asked not to be identified, though the Seattle PD itself confirmed the drop in sex-assault-arrest numbers to the radio station.
The situation is so bad, “Fewer officers means that in some cases, people calling to report a sexual assault are routed to the automated telephone reporting unit, designed to address non-urgent calls such as stolen checks.”
Meanwhile, as police continue to flee Seattle’s police force, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed three anti-gun measures into law, all in the name of public safety and crime reduction:
- S.B. 5078 bans the manufacture, sale, transfer, importation, etc., of magazines that “are capable of holding,” or hold more than, 10 rounds of ammunition.
- H.B.1705, the “Ghost Gun Ban,” prohibits private individuals from possessing certain unregulated components commonly used by Americans to make their own firearms for self-defense, sport and hobby and from possessing currently legal firearms that don’t have serial numbers. This bill makes lawfully built firearms retroactively illegal if built after 2019.
- H.B. 1630, which prohibits open carry at school board meetings, municipal meetings and election-related places. Further, H.B. 1630 bans all firearms at ballot-counting centers, including by concealed-license holders.
As NRA-ILA noted about H.B. 1630, “this measure prohibits you from exercising one of your constitutional rights while engaging in another.”
When he signed these three bills into law, Inslee had the gall to suggest that the magazine ban would affect potential mass shooters, as if these criminals would actually obey this particular law and only use magazines capable of holding 10-round or fewer while violating many other laws during their murderous rampages. “When an active shooter has to stop and reload, it gives potential victims a crucial chance to escape or even disarm the shooter,” Inslee said, with a straight face, no less.
And let us not forget that it was Seattle city leaders who, in 2015, passed a $25 tax on each firearm sold in the city limits, and a 5-cent per round ammunition tax. The taxes are used for “gun-violence” research. At the time, these same leaders claimed the taxes would generate a half million dollars per year to help research intended to combat “gun violence.”
Actually, the taxes generated under $90,000 per year in 2019 and 2018, and drove several profitable gun-related businesses out of city limits.
With Seattle’s violent crime up 20% and aggravated assaults surging 24%, it appears guns and the law-abiding citizens who own and use them were not the problem. But this reality doesn’t seem to faze Inslee and his anti-Second Amendment cronies.