Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: nra

April
29th

If lawmakers duck background checks, voters must act

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

There’s a reason lawmaking is often compared with making sausage: It isn’t always a pretty sight when legislators wrangle, compromise, horse trade and even yell at each other.

Still, compared with the initiative process, that’s generally the better way of getting things done; it more often results in laws that have been vetted for practicality as well as their chances of withstanding judicial review.

But when lawmakers fail to act on an issue of concern for significant numbers of their constituents — and especially when they’re intimidated by a powerful special interest — then it’s up to the people to act. In past years, for instance, lawmakers wouldn’t buck Big Tobacco in order to enact a statewide public smoking ban. So the people acted, passing an initiative by a wide margin to prohibit smoking in public places. Read more »

April
7th

NRA strategy: Squelch free speech and scientific research

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Hypocrisy, thy name is NRA.

The National Rifle Association fiercely defends the Second Amendment rights of some people – in part by trying to quash the First Amendment rights of others.

It’s one way the organization has worked to prevent information on guns from getting out – information badly needed in efforts to curb the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.

An example: In 2011, the NRA actually got encoded in Florida law a gag order barring doctors from talking to their patients about guns in the home. Not only did this infringe on medical providers’ freedom of speech, it interfered with the doctor-patient relationship. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors counsel patients on firearm-injury prevention.) Read more »

Feb.
2nd

Paranoia is sole argument against background checks

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

We’re trying real hard to think of reasons why private sales of firearms shouldn’t involve FBI background checks, and we’re coming up short.
Measures requiring background checks on all gun purchasers ought to be sailing through Congress. The vast majority of Americans – including most gun owners – support universal checks. Only absolutists who see jackbooted gun-grabbers in every shadow are fighting these proposals.

In Olympia, things are moving. Last week, state Rep. Jamie Pederson and 35 co-sponsors introduced a universal screening bill in the state House of Representatives.

It’s very simple. Licensed gun dealers are already required to run the names of would-be buyers through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Nondealers who want to sell their guns would have to do the same for their buyers, using either the system of a dealer or the local police.

The cost could not exceed $20, plus any FBI charges. That’s a reasonable price for buyers who bypass licensed dealers – especially since dealers must incur costs for the background checks they are required to run.
Read more »

Jan.
18th

An Eisenhower asks the NRA: ‘Have you no sense of decency, sirs?’

This op-ed came in Friday from The Washington Post. We don’t have room to get it into the print edition, so it’s running online only.

In it, Dwight Eisenhower’s granddaughter Susan comments on the NRA’s ad “suggesting that the president is an ‘elitist hypocrite’ because his children have the benefit of armed protection at school and the nation’s children as a whole do not.”
Needless to say, she thinks the NRA is off target. Here’s the article. Read more »

Jan.
8th

A targeted – not shotgun – approach to gun reforms

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Sensible restrictions on firearms won’t happen if absolutists – whether pro- or anti-gun – hijack the debate. Someone like Gabrielle Giffords might be what the cause needs.

The former congresswoman and her husband, Mark Kelly, announced a campaign Tuesday to balance the political influence of National Rifle Association, whose current leadership dogmatically opposes almost any measure that threatens the interests of gun manufacturers.

Giffords brings two crucial credentials to this argument: She’s a gun-owning supporter of the Second Amendment – and a survivor of a nearly fatal shooting. They noted Tuesday that they have two guns – locked safely at home – and say they aren’t interested in taking firearms away from responsible gun owners. Read more »

Dec.
21st

To the NRA, more guns is the solution to violence

This editorial will appear in the Monday print edition.

So this is the National Rifle Association’s idea of a “meaningful” way to address the kind of gun violence that killed 20 children and six school staff in Newtown, Conn.? To station armed police in every school in America?

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre in a Friday news conference one week to the day after the Newtown massacre.

As we have made clear many times before, we support the Second Amendment and the right of individual Americans to own guns to protect their homes, for sport shooting and for hunting. We also support reasonable restrictions, the kind that might keep that “bad guy” from getting his hands on a gun in the first place, such as universal background checks designed to prevent criminals and mentally disturbed individuals from buying weapons.

But the NRA has vigorously fought closing the loophole that allows private-party sales without  background checks. It has also opposed other proposed restrictions such as a ban on high-capacity magazines and microstamping of bullets that would allow law enforcement to better track firearm use. Read more »

Feb.
23rd

Child’s shooting shows need for safe gun storage law

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Authorities could end up charging the wrong person for the tragic shooting Wednesday of a third-grade girl at her Bremerton school. Blame it on this state’s lack of even a minimal gun-storage requirement.

The 9-year-old boy who brought a loaded handgun to school in his backpack does bear responsibility for the accidental shooting that critically injured Amina Bowman. But again, he’s 9 years old. Children that age often have little understanding of the consequences of their actions. Authorities would have to prove that the boy was aware that his actions were wrong in order to charge him with a crime.

Unfortunately, the person most responsible for this tragedy –  the adult who kept a loaded gun accessible to a youngster – likely won’t be held accountable.  Washington is not one of the 27 states that requires at least minimal safeguards to prevent children from getting access to firearms in the home. It has no criminal penalty for adults who fail to do so. Read more »