Leading Washington state lawmakers are reluctant to pass new gun-control measures despite last year’s mass killing in Seattle, a downtown office shooting and this week’s gun slaying of a Tacoma high school student, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Insiders and experts say the gun lobby’s influence may be too strong, politicians’ courage too weak, and the number of gun victims still too low to prompt action. In Seattle, where aggravated assaults with guns rose 19 percent last year, Mayor Greg Nickels and police Chief Gil Kerlikowske are urging legislators to pass bills regulating the sale and storage of guns.
Legislators say their priorities lie elsewhere — increasing funding for education and health care. A bill aiming to close a so-called loophole that allows people to buy firearms at gun shows without a background check was filed last month. Dave Workman of Gun Week, owned by the Second Amendment Foundation, said bills to regulate gun shows are misguided. “The real issue about this is that gun shows really are not the source of these firearms. Whether you close this so-called gun show loophole or not, the gun shows have nothing to do with any of the high-profile shootings in Seattle in the last years and those guys know it,” Workman said.