On Friday, June 1, the newest Staff Assistant, Collin Tracy, was assigned to meet with three high school students from University High and Central Valley High School at McMorris Rodgers’ Congressional office in downtown Spokane. It was the beginning of National Gun Violence Awareness Day: Wear Orange Weekend. The students, shaken by school shootings and animated by the students of Parkland Florida, presented a letter demanding a series of actions of their Representative to tighten restrictions on the purchase and ownership of weapons of war. Another twenty-five fellow students gathered on the sidewalk outside the Peyton Building.
According to notes by one of the students, Mr. Tracy told them, “CMR is a supporter of 2nd Amendment rights” and “CMR wants a solution for people’s rights and safety without stomping on the other.” A joint focus on mental health was offered. None of the specific demands was addressed. Apparently, “support of 2nd Amendment rights” closes the door to any rational discussion of what those rights include…and don’t. Case closed. Door slammed shut.
The very next day McMorris Rodgers attended and spoke at the Spokane County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner & Fundraiser held at the Davenport Grand Hotel. An internet search sheds some light on why McMorris Rodgers’ mind is closed. There, amid the fevered commentary offered by two contributors to the Fox News bubble, the Spokane County GOP auctioned off a M&P®15 SPORT™ II along with “8hrs of training” provided by Inland Northwest Action Shooters. In March, in the wake of the Parkland school massacre, the Spokane GOP was “weighing” whether to go ahead with a planned raffle of an AR-15 at the Lincoln Day Dinner. Kip Hill quoted GOP Chairwoman Stephanie Cates as saying an AR-15 “definitely wouldn’t be among the items available at the annual fundraiser this year.”
So what did they do?
The website showing the auction items for the event strategically omits a photograph of Item #150, the M&P®15 SPORT™ II. Perhaps because it is an assault rifle, a military weapon, an AR-15 knockoff, everything an AR-15 is but by another name. It is the people-killer of choice used by many school shooters and the Las Vegas shooter, to devastating effect. The characterization of its “purpose” on the Smith and Wesson website as “Home Protection, Hunting, Recreational Shooting” is laughable. It might be essential for “home protection”…if your home were attacked by an army division. No respectable hunter I know would consider this a preferred hunting arm. “Recreational shooting?” Sure, it’s fun to shoot, and shooting competitively is a real skill.
It is also fun to blow things up with dynamite and it requires some real skill, care, and responsibility not to kill someone or oneself while handling dynamite. Note that the purchase, sale, and storage of dynamite is highly regulated. Since 1934 (National Firearms Act of 1934) the purchase, sale, and possession of full automatic firearms, silencers, and switchblades are also regulated. The regulations are appropriate and court-tested.
Now McMorris Rodgers, the Spokane County GOP, and the National Republican Party not only peddle assault weapons, the like of which are used to kill our children, but hand-in-hand with the NRA they are waging a campaign to dismantle what they can of existing gun regulations (H.R. 38, H.R. 367, see Congress.gov). Apparently to them, any regulation at all is a “stomp” on the 2nd Amendment.
I’ve been involved in shooting sports since I was twelve. I have a concealed carry permit. I own an assault rifle. I am not fearful for my 2nd Amendment rights but I also I see no need to expand them. Like all rights in the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment right has limitations. It is time to vote out people like McMorris Rodgers whose minds are so closed they cannot even discuss what the limitations ought to be.
Keep to the high ground,