Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, there have been a number of legislators who have introduced legislation in the Washington House of Representatives as a response. There are those who want to see stricter gun control laws. And on the other side, we’re seeing bills that would fight to protect the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
It’s been quite a polarizing issue with no decisive way of knowing how this issue will play out in the Legislature. Certainly, all of us want to make sure our children are safe when they go to school. We also want to make sure our families are safe in their homes, at their workplaces and in their communities.
We are all concerned as evidenced by the fact that my office is getting more calls on this issue than any other since the legislative session began on Jan. 14. Many people are asking, how do we stay safe? How do we protect our children? How do we preserve our second amendment rights as law-abiding citizens?
With more laws?
I want to bring another side to this debate that I don’t think people are talking about. Yet, I think it is really important.
Historically, as we look back to the various shooting tragedies that have happened across the United States, there’s been one thing each of those incidents have in common. In every circumstance in which the perpetrator prepared to do harm, that person broke the law, possibly numerous times, before pointing the gun at the intended targets and pulling the trigger.
With that in mind, I’m asking the question no one else is asking: What law or laws could have effectively stopped the perpetrator when he/she ignored and broke the other laws and proceeded to commit the tragedy?
And here’s another question we need to be asking: When the person with the gun has broken those laws (even new ones that might be enacted) and is in a place of business, a classroom or a public location pointing the weapon at people with his/her finger on the trigger, now what?
If it was your child in that line of fire, what would you want to be done at that very moment?
I’m not just asking the question rhetorically. I really want to know what our citizens think.
It’s time we begin seriously discussing this issue. Not from the point of emotion or polarizing positions, but from the standpoint of reality. Reality tells me that we can pass many laws in the state as a reaction to this horrible tragedy. But at the end of the day, the perpetrator heading to a destination to commit evil has already ignored the laws. More laws on the books will likely be ignored by the gunman as well.
So how do we respond once the perpetrator has reached the intended destination? How can we be better prepared? How can we protect ourselves and our children? Are more gun control laws the answer?
Please let me know your answers to these questions. My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call my office at 360-786-7967.
I want to hear from you.
Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, represents the 39th Legislative District. His office address is P.O. Box 40600, Olympia, WA 98504-0600. Sign up for his e-mail updates from his website at www.houserepublicans.wa.gov/dan-kristiansen.