There are few subjects that raise such poignant examples of the dubious contradictions found in modern American society as contrasting the efforts of those wishing to restrict firearms ownership among the law-abiding population and those seeking to protect themselves and others under the rights granted by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In recent months, the state of Washington and its largest city, Seattle, have supported and implemented some of the most restrictive firearms ordinances and regulations in the country.
Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council voted to approve an ordinance to tax sales of guns and ammunition in Seattle and require gun owners to report the theft or loss of any firearm within 24 hours. The ordinance imposes a $25 tax on each firearm sold in Seattle as well as a five-cent tax on every individual round of ammunition, except for .22 cal. ammunition, which would carry a two-cent tax per round.
The ordinance has subsequently been challenged in court by the National Rifle Association and others.
In November 2014, Washington state voters approved a petition-driven initiative that criminalizes most private firearm transfers and mandate background checks for nearly all gun transfers in the state, with very limited exceptions.
Contrast these recent restrictive actions to this week’s action by King County Sheriff John Urquhart, which directed his deputies to carry their firearms and extra ammunition while off-duty in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. King County, WA, which includes the City of Seattle, is the state’s most populous.
As reported by The Seattle Times, in an email distributed Nov. 17, Urquhart noted the FBI has not received any specific, credible information of any imminent attacks in the United States, including any from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“I believe the bigger threat to the Greater Seattle area is a homegrown terrorist who decides to act unilaterally in support of ISIL,” Urquhart wrote. “As they have in the past, ISIL released a video on Saturday, urging attacks anywhere, saying there are ‘weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit.’ I believe this is the biggest threat to our area.
“So what should we do?” the email continued. “Of course we should all stay vigilant and ‘if you see something, say something.’ But after Paris, that doesn’t seem enough. Therefore my request.
“While off-duty I am asking all commissioned personnel to always carry their sidearm, with extra magazines. I know that some of you already do, but many do not. Now is the time! With all that is going in the world, it is more important than ever to have the means to protect your family, the public, and yourself.”