legislative or initiative action ideas post kirotv gun violence town hall

Greetings Manka Dhingra of the Washington state senate,

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

This is david zaitzeff and we spoke this evening after the kirotv townhall which was on the topic of guns and society and reducing bad gun use.

My ideas for legislative or initiative actions are as follows:

1) that all future firearm purchases in Washington state be conditioned upon a “permit to purchase” in a way somewhat similar to the law in Connecticut. That the permit to purchase be conditioned upon 1) successful completion of an 8 or 9 or 10 hour “pistol safety class,” which is either identical to the required class for the state of Connecticut or one which is materially identical to the Connecticut class which includes a few more topics, so as to discourage bad and unlawful use by those with questionable or poor motivations and 2) the local police and/or sheriff signing off that he or she knows of no substantial impediment of the types listed in the ERPO law as indicia of danger and which would constitute a substantial reason for barring purchase of firearm for that person.

Please note that it was recently reported in the news that 3 persons were arrested and charged with some random shooting, after a woman friend of some gang members went to a shop and she legally purchased one or more classy rifles, such rifle or rifle then being used shortly afterwards for some random joy shooting at random persons. If it were up to me, part of a pistol safety class would include informing all persons that those who behave badly in such ways get caught and killed, caught and imprisoned, or shot, paralyzed, caught and imprisoned or shot and killed.

Perhaps not everybody would like the idea of including such details as part of the pistol safety class, though, to me, given the bad behavior of some persons, it seems necessary and helpful. However, even if you skip my idea of the psychological deterring information, then, the pistol safety class is probably a good first step in being a minor obstacle barrier to those with bad intentions.

Since there is a substantial fraction of the weapons owning public that supports a pistol safety class, requiring such as a condition of firearm purchasing would be likely to pass with a strong majority, such as did 1491 or 594. The only question is what details would you or some of your friends like to include, in such a way that the persons with the money are willing to pay to put it on the ballot.

If everything were up to me, I would write up an initiative with my idea, but in actual practice, you need the support of other persons with half a million dollars or $1 million to get on the ballot, as you probably know.

You and your friends would have to decide whether to simply copy the requirements for a pistol safety class as found in Connecticut law or to modify it in several ways as I would propose, to create an additional psychological barrier to bad actors.

2) I assume that limiting the capacity of the magazines is reasonable to something less than 20, but I have not read the arguments. However, unless there were a strong argument to be made for the need for having a 20 round clip, it seems that you would likely prevail in an initiative to limit the magazine size, if the legislature did not accommodate your desire to limit magazine size. Some people seem to think that 8 or 10 or 15 is a reasonable number for a maximum number in a clip. Probably you would wish to remember that a person like me thinks of the Rodney King riots and the self-defensive actions of the Korean shopowners as an example in which having a rifle is good for self-defense.

There is the saying from the Texas Rangers, “One riot, one ranger,” from when Captain William McDonald was sent to Dallas to prevent an illegal fight. The question you or I have with respect to magazines is how you or I might defend Reginald Denny while a man such as Denny is being beaten by an unruly mob in our presence. If you or I had a gun and if Denny was being beaten in our presence, then, you or I would want to defend him. Is a clip of 10 enough to take out 4 attackers? The police will tell you that that is probably not safe, or so I think.

The problem is not limiting new sales of large magazines, I believe, but what you will do with existing supply and with magazines which enter from out of state.

3) When we discussed the idea of security dogs for schools, you said that the problem was that some kids were afraid of dogs. The FBI has a report up on the topic in which they or the authors cite the experience of a school in Ohio with security dogs–and the school admin is very happy with the results, and in fact, school admin seems to believe that the dogs reduce and deter low-level violence, bullying and threats as well as the possibility of a shooter.

4) given that a few weeks ago the Seattle times had an article in which they told of a teacher at Garfield high school to whom a student made a report of a death threat and the teacher laughed off the threat and took no action, you and the legislature should consider making teachers and school administrators mandatory reporters of such threats, subject to prosecution and penalty.

If you/we have teachers in public schools in Seattle who respond to death threats by laughing them off, as the Seattle times informs us, and such teachers are not terminated, as the Seattle times article seems to imply, I would be inclined to start a charter school and market it on the basis that Seattle schools are willfully endangering their students by the willful neglect and failure to report death threats.

Probably you are a supporter of public schools and probably you would dislike the idea of persons creating charter schools because Seattle public schools have willfully and knowingly declined to report death threats made against students . . . as the Seattle times reports has happened on at least one occasion, recently.

5) The governor and a school teacher disliked the idea of arming teachers and spoke against it.

Presumably the topic would not even arise in Washington state legislative discussions, but if and when it does, it seems to me that people are making a mistake by thinking of being armed as meaning, exclusively, having a firearm. It seems to me that some teachers should consider wearing pepper spray, nail files, canes, tactical flashlights and throwing stars or having such in a closet, purse, bag or desk.

Kids of age 14 by state law can wear or carry the pepper spray with the permission of mom or dad and this has not endangered public safety . . . and we do not even read in the news of such a kid pranking the school. Tactical flashlights are so “safe” that the rcw does not prohibit the kids under 14 from having or carrying them. Would a teacher, when faced with a student or man with a knife, like to have a tactical flashlight with her? A lot of them would.

If you are an attacker with a knife and you are facing a person with a tactical flashlight, you have a good chance of having to close your eyes to not be blinded by the flashlight . . . so some persons with knives are not going to be making an attack or the attack will be made while running backwards or blinded.

If I or you were a teacher, or if the woman who was with us this evening and who was recently threatened in a movie theatre were a teacher, would not you or I or her wish to have, regularly with us, pepper spray, a tactical flashlight capable of disorienting an attacker, or a nail file? Or, for that matter, a cane or baton in a closet or a desk drawer?

But such ideas are up to you and to various school boards and school districts, presumably.

However, what we know is the hero of the SPU shooting took down an armed gunman with pepper spray while the gunman was distracted with reloading. The hero of SPU wore or carried his pepper spray as preparation against unforeseen and somewhat unforeseeable emergencies.

Any teacher or regular person can get pepper spray for about $15, as you probably know; kids in public school can and do carry spray.

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