Thursday, October 19, 2023

Washington's King County Executive Initiates 'Office for Preventing Gun Violence'


© Bill H |

Supported by a Seattle-based billionaire's gun control advocacy group, King County Executive Dow Constantine of Washington has unveiled the establishment of a "Regional Office for Gun Violence Prevention," allocating $13.5 million for its initiation.

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Endorsed previously by a gun control organization, Constantine disclosed the news at a press conference on October 17. Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall, appointed by Constantine, pointed out the rising gun violence trends in the region.

King County data indicates a concerning uptick in gun violence: a 17% increase in reported gunshots, a 55% surge in shooting victims, and a staggering 76% rise in fatal shooting victims, as noted by KCPQ.

Reports from Ammoland News have documented the escalating gun violence in Washington, particularly in King County and Seattle. Though the figures may not seem alarming compared to cities like Chicago or Baltimore, they are notably high for the Pacific Northwest.

From the time the Alliance for Gun Responsibility began funding gun control initiatives in 2014, homicides in the state escalated from 172 in 2014 to 394 in 2022, based on the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs' report.

In Seattle alone, the homicide count since 2015 has doubled from 26 to 52 the previous year. The current year's death toll already surpasses the previous by a dozen, totaling 64 with two months still remaining.

Feedback from readers on the Seattle Times article regarding Constantine's declaration leans heavily toward skepticism. The article suggests the initiative aims to curb the rising shootings and killings, particularly in South King County. However, the prevalent sentiment believes the measures may only further restrict the rights of lawful citizens.

This surge in crime has correspondingly seen a rise in concealed pistol license applications in King County, which includes Seattle. Current figures from the state's Department of Licensing highlight that the county holds 111,332 of the state's 696,540 active CPLs, with women holding approximately 22% of those.

Echoing a similar initiative announced by President Joe Biden, which designated Vice President Kamala Harris in charge, Constantine's strategy seems to follow national trends. As Constantine commented, the tragic reality is that they are contending with a disaster that could have been avoided.

There's apprehension that this could turn into another tax-funded establishment echoing gun control motions in the 2024 legislative agenda.

Westside noted that King County's efforts have garnered recognition from the White House for their exemplary collaborative approaches. The newly formed office will collaborate closely with other national bodies to mobilize federal assets against gun violence.

However, many question the actual outcomes this office will achieve. Historical data hints at a continual rise in homicides, non-fatal shootings, and gunshot reports, with legitimate gun owners possibly facing more restrictions.

A statement from KING5 News, Seattle's NBC affiliate, cited Constantine's press release, stressing the necessity for collaboration to tackle gun violence. Yet, many argue that such pronouncements are merely rhetorical, lacking tangible results.

A comment from the Seattle Times encapsulates the prevailing mood: "Constantine's move is more about publicity, with no real positive impact anticipated. The main outcome might be more government jobs and a potential increase in Democratic voters."

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