U.S.A. — The brutal June 13 broad daylight slaying of a pregnant Seattle businesswoman in the city’s Belltown neighborhood is once again providing gun prohibitionists with yet another statistic in their crusade to push more gun control schemes, while one key factor will likely be ignored because it tends to show why those schemes are doomed to failure.
Thirty-four-year-old Eina Kwon, owner of the Aburiya Bento House restaurant in Belltown, died from multiple gunshot wounds. Her baby was delivered and initially survived, according to KOMO News—the city’s ABC affiliate—but later died in the hospital.
The KOMO report quoted a woman identified as Lisa McGee: “It’s a shame that such a pretty city has become so grungy and unsafe to the point where I don’t even want to work downtown anymore. I’m definitely scared to be in this area. Action needs to happen quick.”
Local news competitor KIRO News, the CBS affiliate, quoted Michael Hoyle, identified as a friend of the murdered woman: “You can’t prevent this, not unless there’s policy change. I’m angry and there needs to be action.”
The key ingredient in this story seems to get buried. The suspect is a 30-year-old former Illinois resident and convicted felon. A gun recovered near the crime scene, identified in a Seattle Police report as a 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, was reportedly stolen in Lakewood, a suburb of Tacoma in neighboring Pierce County. The suspect was reportedly convicted in September 2017 of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in Cook County, Illinois Superior Court.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, a perennial gun control advocate, has been campaigning for years to undo Washington State’s model firearms preemption law passed in 1983 and reinforced in 1985. It prevents him and other municipal mayors and city governments from adopting their own, often conflicting, gun control ordinances. Preemption establishes uniformity in state gun laws from border to border, and Washington’s act has served as a model for many, if not most, similar statutes across the country. More than 40 states now have preemption laws, which seem to infuriate the gun prohibition lobby.
In 2022, Harrell was the keynoter at the annual fundraising and back-slapping luncheon held by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the billionaire-backed gun control lobbying group based in Seattle. According to an account of that gala event on the Alliance’s website, the group’s CEO, Renée Hopkins, told the audience, “Today we celebrate the tremendous progress we’ve made in the fight against gun violence since the Alliance was founded in 2013. Together, we have passed three ballot measures and more than 30 community safety bills through Olympia, elected a true gun responsibility majority to the legislature, removed hundreds of guns from dangerous situations, and saved countless lives.”
History and crime data tell a different story.
In 2014, the Alliance bankrolled Initiative 549, mandating so-called “universal background checks.” That year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Washington reported 172 homicides including 94 involving firearms.
In 2018, the Alliance’s deep pocket supporters financed another measure, Initiative 1639, which prohibited young adults from purchasing so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles,” mandated training for older people before they could buy such guns, and invented a definition of the non-existent weapon that applies to every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured anywhere on earth. According to FBI data, by that year—in the aftermath of I-594 passed four years earlier—Washington reported 232 slayings, including 138 involving guns, although only a fraction were identified as rifles.
By 2021, the most recent year for which FBI data is available (the 2022 data will be released in late September), Washington experienced 325 murders, of which 209 involved firearms.
If that’s “tremendous progress,” say many gun rights activists, the state would be in real trouble without all of these new gun restrictions…or perhaps not. Maybe the state would be better without the restrictive laws.
In the summer of 2015, Seattle adopted and gun and ammunition special tax for the purpose of raising revenue to fight and prevent so-called “gun violence.” According to Seattle Police data, that year the city suffered 26 homicides. By 2022, the police department’s Crime Dashboard shows the number of homicides had doubled, to 52 for the year.
The Seattle Police Department has a Police Blotter, and herein one can find the single critical detail in gun control failure which seems to elude gun control proponents. Criminals do not obey gun control laws.
Here are a few examples from just this month:
On June 2, police took a man into custody for having drug paraphernalia, including 545.3 grams of suspected fentanyl and a loaded Beretta 9mm pistol. The 33-year-old suspect “was confirmed to be a seven-time convicted felon prohibited from possessing a firearm,” the report says. “He was transported to the King County Jail and booked for weapons and narcotics violations.”
A few days later, on June 8, Seattle police arrested a 25-year-old male for dealing narcotics on the city’s Yesler Way. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was “found to be in possession of narcotics and a stolen firearm,” the report says. He was booked for investigation of drug law violations and unlawful possession of a firearm.
The very next day, June 9, Seattle police arrested another fellow for theft and discovered an “altered” firearm in his backpack. It was a sawed-off bolt-action .22-caliber rifle. According to this report, “Officers confirmed the suspect had several outstanding warrants for his arrest and was also a convicted felon, making him ineligible to legally possess firearms.”
On the day before Ms. Kwon was murdered (June 12) while sitting in her car, Seattle police arrested a 39-year-old man in the Chinatown International District area following a foot pursuit. “During his attempt to escape from police,” the Blotter report noted, “the suspect discarded his outer layer of clothing and buried a firearm. A SPD K9 discovered the firearm during an evidence track. Police recovered $310.00 in cash, about 200 fentanyl M30 pills, and a stolen handgun.”
None of these incidents involved people who legally purchased the guns police took from them. There were no background checks, no waiting periods, no federal Form 4473 submissions or any other required hoops through which law-abiding citizens are required to jump.
Earlier this year, Seattle area Democrat lawmakers pushed through more gun control laws during the legislative session in Olympia. Retiring Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee gleefully signed into law an immediate ban on so-called “assault weapons,” which drew an immediate federal lawsuit from the Second Amendment Foundation in Western Washington and another federal lawsuit by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (with support from the National Rifle Association) in Eastern Washington.
Like gun prohibitionists across the country, Evergreen State anti-gunners seem woefully ignorant or deliberately dismissive of the simple fact that criminals do not obey any of the gun laws they pass with promises of reduced violent crime as the carrot on the stick.
There is a lesson for the country in the Seattle experience. Unfortunately, gun control proponents are consistently skipping class.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.