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Thread: Washington Ceasefire plans new strategies to strip you of your rights

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    http://www.jew-ish.com/index.php?/stories/item/763

    Limelight: Washington CeasefireRe-calibrating gun control

    By Daniel Levisohn


    This upcoming weekend, employees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle will quietly commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting at its downtown office building.

    For Seattle’s Jewish community, July 28, 2006 was a traumatizing introduction to gun violence, both in the scale of the attack and in the alleged shooter’s anti-Semitic motivations. But, even as the shooting was premeditated with the goal of killing Jews, looking back it is also clear the event created waves outside of the Jewish community. For starters, several of the women shot that day were not Jewish, but had intertwined their lives with Jewish causes. Many non-Jewish organizations also came to the Federation’s aid. In a year scarred again and again by the indiscriminate murder of innocent people at the hands of men with guns, the shooting linked Seattle’s Jews to other victimized communities. From the Capitol Hill Massacre to the murder of young Amish schoolchildren to the rampage at Virginia Tech, America’s senseless tolerance of guns was on full display. Taken together, the bloodbaths should have provided a timeline of evidence that our nation’s gun laws need to change — fast.

    Sadly, transforming the United States of American is a process that is often frustratingly slow. In Washington State, a hope emerged that an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature might actually make guns more difficult for dangerous people to acquire by passing a plug to the gun-show loophole — a hope driven by so much common sense, it is almost comical that such a law was not passed and remains a political dream.

    Washington Ceasefire is the organization that should be leading the effort to tighten Washington’s gun laws, but in the last few years its own leadership says it has “struggled in the wilderness.” But at a fundraiser on Tuesday, July 17 at the Big Picture, they made a show of beginning to change that. They’ve brought in a new board and a new executive director, Kristen Comer, a young lawyer originally from Spokane who has worked on the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. They’ve also taken the first steps to revamp their strategy. Comer said that within five years we will see a reduction in the number of firearm deaths in Washington.

    Jew-ish spoke with Comer a few days before the fundraiser.

    Jew-ish: A lot of people thought that in 2007 the legislature might actually get something done about gun violence. Can you talk a bit about what happened?

    K.C.: I think last year it was traditionally the things that make it difficult. A lot of the time there is not enough political will. The people in the legislature are concerned their constituencies will be upset with them if they enact certain types of gun-control measures, and oftentimes on the other side of the issue their voices are much louder than those who are on our side of the issue.

    But I think the tide is changing specifically after the shooting at Virginia Tech. People are realizing there are many loopholes in our laws right now and there are many ways to prevent senseless acts of violence.

    Jew-ish: How active was Jewish community on this issue?

    K.C.: We certainly worked quite a bit with the Seattle chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. When we had our committee hearing for the gun-show loophole legislation, I know there were many members of the Jewish community who came to Olympia and showed their support for the legislation. I know it’s also still on the radar screen of the Jewish community as an issue that is important and as an issue to address.

    Jew-ish: Is Washington Ceasefire changing its plans for this upcoming year?

    K.C.: We are trying to recalibrate the organization right now because we are in the middle of a change. Our organization going forward is going to have a foundation based upon three different organizational categories: One is a legal component. That will include any sort of legal research to better define what sort of legislation would pass muster and be least likely to be challenged constitutionally in Washington State. We are doing our homework on that front. We are also doing legal research into policy areas we think might be successful that we haven’t considered before. For example, we are looking at how we might influence policy not only at the state level but on a local level as well. In Seattle or Spokane or wherever it might be.

    Jew-ish: Is there more leeway to work locally?

    K.C.: That’s part of what we are looking at right now. We have created a legal committee that is staffed with several talented attorneys and we have them doing research right now to figure out what our best alternatives will be.

    One of the other prongs is the legislative portion. That is really undefined right now. I think we will probably try to close the gun-show loophole again. But our legislative agenda isn’t set yet for next year. We are going to be meeting with some of our allies in the legislator over the next couple of months to better define what our goals will be is ’08 and ’09 after the elections have occurred.

    The third part is our learnedness component, and that’s just getting back to the facts. We know the facts are in our favor. We know that in the United Sates we have the weakest gun laws and the highest rates of gun ownership, and we also have the highest rate of gun violence of any industrialized nation. And we know we can change that. We are going to look at the facts, and try to take the issue into a more credible arena: this is what we know, and this is why gun violence is important to you as an individual person.

    Jew-ish: Has Washington Ceasefire focused on the gun-show loophole because the organization feels it is politically achievable or because it thinks it would have a big impact?

    K.C.: I was not here when the organization set that as its primary legislative ambition. So I can’t speak as to why that specific policy choice was chosen over many others. But what I do know is that on the face of it seems like a very sensible regulation. If you are purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer and you have to undergo a background check, the same should be true when you are purchasing firearms at a gun show. There are many loopholes. It is just one in the many loopholes we have when enforcing the laws.

    Jew-ish: Is there evidence that a significant portion of firearm violence comes through the gun-show loophole?

    K.C.: The facts are very, very mixed and that is part of what we are pushing for this learnedness component of our new mission going forward. I know the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] put out a study a few years ago that showed that a significant portion of gun purchases at gun shows turn up later in crimes. It’s an easy way for people who can’t buy guns to show up and buy guns without a check.

    Jew-ish: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?

    K.C.: We feel there is a lot of really good momentum going in our direction and we think in the next couple of years this issue is going to change. We think that Virginia Tech was shocking to people and rightfully so. And [the House of Representatives] just passed its first major peace of what people are calling gun-control legislation last month. It was the first bill they passed in probably 10 years, since the assault weapons ban, so actually 13 years. So that’s very encouraging. We feel that that sort of momentum will trickle down to the state and local level. And we have a strong mayor and police chief who really believe in our cause, too.

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    While I am not religous myself, I have several friends who are Jewish. I think I can say with confidence that none of them view the tragedy that took place last year as a reason to pass even more useless laws against guns. Quite the contrary, at least two of those people are shopping around for their own pistols, and plan to get CPLs soon.

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    Where's http://www.jpfo.org/ when you need them?
    -Unrequited

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    Cue-Ball wrote:
    While I am not religous myself, I have several friends who are Jewish. I think I can say with confidence that none of them view the tragedy that took place last year as a reason to pass even more useless laws against guns. Quite the contrary, at least two of those people are shopping around for their own pistols, and plan to get CPLs soon.
    Well, then you better get them prepped for January in Olympia.

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    Sigh, this article reminded me of events I'd sadly forgotten. And sadly remembered again. We all want the same thing, ultimately. That is, I guess, the truly sad thing. The roads to get there are so different.



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    44Brent wrote:
    http://www.jew-ish.com/index.php?/stories/item/763

    Limelight: Washington CeasefireRe-calibrating gun control

    By Daniel Levisohn


    In Washington State, a hope emerged that an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature might actually make guns more difficult for dangerous people to acquire by passing a plug to the gun-show loophole...
    Being a Democratic does not necessarily mean you are a liberal. Just as being a Conservative does not mean you are a NeoCon...
    "...our media are palace eunuchs gazing avidly at the harem of power and stroking their impotent pens in time to the rape of our liberties."
    -Sarah Hoyt

    "America is at that awkward stage; it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
    -Claire Wolfe

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    I am a Jew. I have a CPL. I carry a gun all the time. The shooting at the federation was one of MANY events that prompted me to start carrying regularly.

    When I was getting my CPL at the Sheriff's office in downtown Seattle one of the woman waiting for fingerprints with me was an employee at the Jewish Federation. She was there when the shooting happened.

    She was getting her CPL, had signed up for shooting classes, and was going to be keeping her pistol close at hand, 24/7, especially while at work. (though she was not going to let her coworkers know--she was,however,going to protect them if needed in the future)

    I must say that I find most of my Jewish friends far more supportive of 2A rights than non-jews. Just look at Israel, everyone carries guns openly. To think that a Jewish anti-gun group is going to make a difference in Olympia is just silly--it is not a majority view of Jews anywhere.

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    "We know the facts are in our favor. We know that in the United Sates we have the weakest gun laws and the highest rates of gun ownership, and we also have the highest rate of gun violence of any industrialized nation. And we know we can change that."

    Note the inference that gun ownership = gun violence. Comer is using this to try to establish a logical link between any gun ownership, to lay the blame on all gun owners, especially legal, law abiding ownership. This however, has been proven false time and again. Facts are just data, not logic and her's is fruitless, twisted, and totally lacking any merit. She is a disgrace as an American.

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    Well, now that we've established Ms. Comer is a disgrace and a fibber...

    We still have to deal with her activities here in Washington. Not some other state or commonwealth.

    There are people in Olympia who will gleefully and willingly listen to the CeaseFire crowd, sans any semblance of fact. That's the reality.

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    Joshmmm:

    I'd like to know more abot this CPL encounter. Please post me all the details off list, as I presume you got the lady's name and had an opportunity to chat.

    davew@liberty.seanet.com

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    Dave Workman wrote:
    Joshmmm:

    I'd like to know more abot this CPL encounter. Please post me all the details off list, as I presume you got the lady's name and had an opportunity to chat.

    davew@liberty.seanet.com
    Hi Dave,

    I actually did not get her name but we did chat for a bit. Had I gotten her name I wouldn't be sharing it with anyone as I am sure her carrying on the job could have negative consequences for her employment--something I am sure most of us are very sympathetic to.

    If you have any specific questions feel free to email me; joshmmm at the google mail or via pm on the board.

    Josh :-)

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    Joshmmm,

    Good for you! However, I'd be a bit cautious about statements like this:

    To think that a Jewish anti-gun group is going to make a difference in Olympia is just silly--it is not a majority view of Jews anywhere.
    Sure, it's true--but that hardly matters if the anti's are the only ones that show up and talk. So I hope the JFPO and others will show up and speak in favor of gun rights--and that you're helping support them. (It's not just about the dollars, either--membership counts can figure significantly in their kind of advocacy.)

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