Protestors demonstrate at NRA Foundation event in Mountlake Terrace

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gathering in Echo Lake Park to prepare for march

By Rowan Hurt
Photos by Caleb Correos

On Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 3:30pm, a group of fifteen Shorewood students and community members gathered in Echo Lake Park to prepare for a march on the Nile Shrine Golf Course in Mountlake Terrace. At 5pm, the Nile Shrine Country Club was to host a fundraiser dinner for the NRA Foundation, also known as “Friends of NRA.”

The protestors' event page on Facebook said “By allying itself with the NRA, Friends of the NRA is sending a message that it supports what the NRA supports. This is the part that we oppose.”

Protestors stood on each side of the entrance
to the Nile Golf and Country Club

The NRA has, in recent history, opposed pretty much every attempt at gun regulation that has been proposed, from a ban on bump stocks to mandatory background checks. While the NRA Foundation is officially tax-exempt, tax-deductible, and not involved in political activities, and thus not affiliated with the lobbying branch of the NRA, it still uses the NRA’s name, which is, arguably, political.

The movement for gun reform has been relatively unfocused, because while it is easy for someone to say that they oppose all restrictions on guns, it is more complicated to specify which policies someone supports. In an effort to clarify that they are not about banning guns, and to provide a specific goal, the protest supported numerous policies.

The poster bears some of the names of those
killed by gun violence

These were: requiring a license to own a gun; comprehensive, mandatory background checks; a ban on large capacity magazines; heavier restrictions on assault weapons, to the same level as handguns; putting more resources into an emergency response system and a reporting service for schools; and mandatory de-escalation training for police officers.

Currently, in Washington, one needs a permit to concealed carry. A license is not required to own or use a gun. Every gun sale is subject to a background check, but if 10 days pass and the background check has not been completed, the firearms dealer may use their discretion on whether or not to sell the weapon. There is no law restricting the size of ammunition magazines in Washington. Magazines with 100 bullets, like the ones used in Las Vegas, are allowed.

Mountlake Terrace police were friendly while
ensuring that no trespassing took place

The protest was non confrontational. While quite a few people flipped protesters off or gave a thumbs down, the response was hand waving and peace signs. Police were there to ensure that no trespassing or violence occurred. They were friendly, offering the protesters sunscreen if it was needed. It reached 75 degrees, and outside the gates where they were standing was in full sun.

At 5:30pm, they left the gates of the golf course and headed out.


Doug May 14, 2018 at 5:53 AM  

Lets see...NRA supports gun safety, self defense, safer schools, crminals not having guns. This group says it opposes everything the NRA stands for. That is concerning.

Jen Widrig May 14, 2018 at 5:10 PM  

Hi Doug. What has the NRA done to make our schools safer or stop criminals having guns? Gun safety and self-defense are worthy goals, but meanwhile 33,000+ Americans are killed by guns every year. This doesn't happen in any other developed nation on the world.

Doug May 15, 2018 at 9:08 AM  

Jen, good question. They advocate laws that make it harder for criminals to get guns. They also advocate that current laws get enforced (which wasn't done in Florida) The NRA cannot stop a criminal from stealing a firearm or a crazy person from entering a school, but they do advocate making it easier to stop them. NRA's positions, if implemented, would make schools safer. 1) increased security i.e. metal detectors, armed security/police, qualified teachers being voluntarily armed, eliminating 'gun free zones' which are the preferred areas that mass shooters are drawn to. 2) Allow more gun safety shooting and classes in schools. 3) They advocate stricter enforcement of existing laws. 4) They are the ones who lobbied for Universal Background checks in the 90's when they didn't exist. 5) they advocate domestic violence offenders and mentally ill from being able to get firearms.
In regards to your 33K statistic: Take away suicides and gang violence, the number is very small compared to other nations. The US # is quite small. Violent crime is lower in the US than many countries: including UK. I think the US is #15 per capita (or thereabouts) as per CDC. The typical gun shootings are suicides, gangs, and domestic violence (often mental issues). Take those away and citizens are quite safe and taking guns away from people not in those categories makes no logical sense. It would, in fact, make them more vulnerable. A woman with a handgun (or at least the belief that she has one) is not likely to be raped and assaulted.
Hundreds of thousands of assaults and crimes are prevented every year from law-abiding citizens owning firearms. It's not a rare occurrence.

Anonymous,  May 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM  

Hi Jen, what has the justice system done to adequately enforce existing legislation?

Rowan Hurt,  May 17, 2018 at 9:08 PM  

Hi Doug- the NRA is against expanding background checks, bans on high capacity magazines, increasing the age of purchase of firearms, a full ban on bump stocks (I will give them this, at least they advocated for regulations), mandatory 10 day waiting periods, and legislation requiring gun owners to lock up their guns. As the article said, that was what the protest was about. I would very much like to see where in the article the group says it opposes everything the NRA stands for, seeing as I wrote the article, and I am not opposed to the idea of an organization promoting safety classes and shooter sports :) I apologize to anyone reading if it came across differently- it was not the intent. I am opposed to how political the NRA has gotten, and how it is protecting the interests of gun manufacturers.

I am, however, concerned by your insistence that a woman with a handgun is less likely to be raped and assaulted. Seeing as women experiencing domestic violence are 8 times more likely to die if there is a firearm in the house, and most rapes are committed by people we know, that doesn't seem factually accurate.

Anonymous,  May 26, 2018 at 10:26 AM  

This group came to Lake Forest Park last night and represented themselves as very respectful of law-abiding gun owners and only concerned about curbing gun violence. Who could argue against that, right?
As with most things supported by the hard left and peddled to the uninformed, the devil is in the details, and they would rather not discuss the details. What I encountered were many well-meaning but totally uninformed individuals, led by skilled anti-gun, anti-constitutional rights activists.
The National Rifle Association has done more to support gun safety and more to advocate for enforcement of EXISTING gun laws to prevent gun violence than any other organization on earth, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. They know full well that those attempting to exploit the latest tragedy and impose further restrictions on law-abiding citizens don't care about enforcing the law, they want to ban firearms. They also know that the strategy is to ban firearms incrementally, not all at once, and that is why they oppose creation of new restrictions on the freedoms of law-abiding citizens when existing laws go unenforced. I'm aware that most of these folks want to do the right thing, they just don't know what the right response is. When I was in high school, during hunting season it took no effort at all to find at least a dozen pickup trucks in the SCHOOL parking lot with racked rifles in the back window, and who knew how many cars had rifles or shotguns in the their trunks. Yet there was no problem with school shootings! Were the guns fewer or less deadly back then? Obviously not.
What has changed is that today we seem to want to turn them on one-another. We have banned God from the school grounds, and we are surprised that sometimes evil reigns there now. How often have you heard of a school shooting at a parochial school? Me neither. After much study I also believe that today's children's willingness to kill their peers extends from the over-protective environment they've grown up in. With 'hover parents' ready to swoop in and protect them from life's disappointments and 'every kid gets a trophy' organized activities, kids are not learning how to deal with disappointment and failure. When these interactions get much more personal and romantic, the sting of rejection becomes overwhelming - a pain more intense than anything they have ever experienced - and they seek extreme measures to make that pain stop. Both the Marysville-Pilchuck and Harbor-Pointe/Jackson shootings bear this out. Blaming 'the gun' in these instances is reactionary, shallow, and does nothing to resolve the underlying issue.

I would invite these folks to visit their local shooting range and actually LEARN a bit about the next things on their list to ban. You will find no more strict enforcement of safety rules than by those who regularly use firearms. The vast majority of gun owners keep them secured and away from any unauthorized or untrained users, and certainly away from children. They keep them ready for self-defense when required, but completely in their control when not locked up. Please, as in all things, THINK before you ACT. J. Wright

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