Alki Community Council: Guns in parks, plus: Paper or pixels?

From last night’s Alki Community Council meeting (held at Alki UCC because the Alki Community Center‘s closed till July 25th):

PARK GUN BAN? The ACC has sent city leaders a letter urging support for a ban on guns in parks. Even if it’s not the city’s jurisdiction – if that would have to go through the state Legislature, as was suggested after the mayor proposed such a ban last year – ACC’s Paul Carr says they hope the city would lobby strongly for a guns-in-parks ban. The ACC’s support for this is a result of discussions that followed the May 1st Alki shooting (photo at left). Carr stresses that this is not a challenge to individual gun-ownership rights – but if firearms can be off-limits in a particularly vulnerable public place like a school, he asks, why not parks?

Ahead: Paper or pixels? And politics …

PAPER OR PIXELS? Leading last night’s meeting in place of president Jule Sugarman (who’s been recovering from an eye injury), ACC vice president Randie Stone announced that the volunteer editor of the Alki News Beacon, Cami MacNamara, is resigning. Instead of just discussing how to find a replacement, the group launched into a lively discussion of whether it should continue publishing the Beacon in print, or move to an electronic-only format for its every-other-month newsletter. Members recalled when thousands of copies were printed and delivered/distributed; now they print hundreds, and mail them directly to members. Larry Carpenter pointed out that much of what’s in it is old news by the time the printed copy arrives, and wondered if the $600 spent on printing and mailing each issue couldn’t be put to better use. Libby Carr said even though she spends a lot of time in front of a computer and could certainly access an online Beacon, she looks forward to getting it. No decision was made – they’re hoping to hear from members, including likely a discussion at the next ACC meeting, before making a decision.

ELECTION SEASON: Almost every community-group meeting in recent months has had at least one candidate appearance, and this was no exception – the group heard from Marty Kaplan, who’s in a three-person primary race with Position 6 incumbent Councilmember Nick Licata and another hopeful, Jessie Israel (West Seattle’s 34th District Democrats dual-endorsed Licata and Israel last week). There was also a reminder that the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is presenting a council candidates’ forum next Tuesday, 5:30-7 pm at ArtsWest, and that the August 18 ballot also includes the referendum on the “bag fee,” asking voters whether to approve or reject the 20-cent fee the council voted to impose on each non-reusable shopping bag (see the city voters’ guide here).

24 Replies to "Alki Community Council: Guns in parks, plus: Paper or pixels?"

  • KatHP July 17, 2009 (7:51 am)

    *sigh* Here we go AGAIN. There has to be a better solution. When are people going to comprehend that banning firearms will not do ANYTHING to deter those that obtain and carry them illegally in the first place?

  • GC July 17, 2009 (8:41 am)

    Why not?

    Well…if a spot is well known as a “self-defense free zone”, it tends to attract those that would make self-defense necessary.

    Such laws only affect the already-law-abiding. Those folks with CPL’s and such who already are some of the states most law-abiding persons – surprisingly enough, criminals and thugs don’t seem to worry much about violating gun laws, or any laws, for that matter.

    A law that actively makes things *worse* for the law abiding seem less then a good idea.

    Americans with Disability Act implications. You know, some of us, even ones whose absolute favorite personal safety strategies when faced with the possibility of bad persons wanting to do bad things revolve around “be someplace where the bad things aren’t happening” and “run away! run away!” have the first one break down as a simple function of odds, and the second one go away as a result of age/infirmity/disease.

    Our “Get up and go” has “Got up and went”, and doesn’t show much sign of returning. Asthma makes one a bad candidate for pepper spray use, and it kind of makes “run away, run away” a wishful thought.

    Unless one wants to simply give up parks (look at the number of assaults in Seattle parks sometime), some means of portable/practical self-defense becomes a prudent preparation against the possibility of that eventual mugger or assailant.

    That I’m a gay man, I recognize, grants me special “let’s kick the snot outta him ’cause he’s a fag” points, and heightens my awareness of these issues, but I would suggest that said issues affect everyone, just (perhaps) w/o the bonus targeting points.

    Thank you, I’ll keep my pistol. After 22 years of legal carry, and zero unplanned perforation (or people perforations at all, thank you very much), I think I can manage to keep up that record for a good while as I tend to avoid excessively frisky areas in the first place.


  • Mike Cheney July 17, 2009 (8:50 am)

    How does disarming law-abiding citizens protect you against violent non-legal criminals that will always break the law by carrying an illegal gun ?

  • TeresaP July 17, 2009 (9:02 am)

    Do people really think if we make a law banning guns in public parks that it will prevent another incident like the May shooting on Alki?? These type of people do not abide by any laws whatsoever and a ban would mean that law abiding people who choose to protect themselves from people like them would not longer be allowed to do so. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • 56bricks July 17, 2009 (9:15 am)

    I agree with the previous posters here. Ironic use of the picture in the story. My understanding of events is that the victim was in a park and the shooter was across the street from said park. With a new ban I would guess at least the victim would have been legal since I heard no mention of him having a gun. Like shooting fish in a barrel?

  • JanS July 17, 2009 (9:46 am)

    perhaps when they arrest the guys who carry guns illegally in parks, this will make the penalties a little worse? Don’t jump down my throat. If you feel you need gun power to protect yourself, so be it. Just not in parks? I have never felt that I needed to carry a concealed weapon anywhere for my safety. That includes going out at night in Wash., DC, in the late 60’s, early 70’s by myself. And I don’t walk alone in parks, nor late at night on the streets here in Seattle.

    I don’t understand the mentality that is stated above. In the summertime when you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt, where exactly do you conceal your weapons, anyway? No one wants to take “law-abiding” citizens rights away. Do you feel that they’ve been taken away if you have to enter a school for some reason? I doubt it. But…you’re just as likely to need that firepower right outside of a school as you are walking through a park. Crap happens anytime and anywhere. Why don’t you protest about that?

    Yeah, you’re right..there are no easy answers here.
    and, 56bricks, it WAS like shooting a fish in a barrel.

  • I had heard July 17, 2009 (9:59 am)

    It’s a “feel good” resolution. If someone is going to pull out a gun and try to murder someone, they’re already risking a life in prison felony. Adding an extra city ‘charge’ of not carrying a gun in a park isn’t going to stop them.

    The bad guys don’t FOLLOW the law. And it’s already illegal to shoot someone outside of self defense…so what does this do? This only prevents sane legal citizens from carrying.

  • troy July 17, 2009 (10:12 am)

    there is a gun ban in parks already – but the state has preempted this law. why? because good people are silent. and the gun advocates (see all of the above postings) are the loudest.

    the mayor called for sensible rules and even had a hearing last year – but who showed up? yup, you guessed it. about 10 people who advocate common sense gun laws and about 90 people who decry any type of common sense gun law.

  • Paul in Gatewood July 17, 2009 (10:14 am)

    I doubt that the type of little thugs that shoot at each other on Alki on a warm summer night really care about complying with a gun ban in a park. I understand the good intentions behind this but in reality it won’t make a difference, I don’t think.

  • vincent July 17, 2009 (11:24 am)

    Calling a controversial restriction on peoples second amendment rights on public land “common sense gun law” is intellectually dishonest at best and a unconscious straw man attempt at worse. if you remove the gun part of this, its still a huge issue, which most of these “common sense liberals” are completely ignoring. Is a public park, property of the people or the city? If the city can impose rules that inhibit the peoples rights on property, they are no longer representative government, they are a corporation that you are subservient to. Keep in mind the city owns more than parks, they own roads, sidewalks and everything in-between. The concept of making laws to fix problems is flawed, look at the drug war. Even the example above the alki shooting was covered by existing laws. Common sense would be asking, would this new law prevent what happened? the answer is no, so how is this common sense?

  • Matt July 17, 2009 (11:29 am)

    Troy, what about a gun ban in parks is common sense? It seems like the opposite of common sense, given that it will not deter illegal carry among those who don’t care about the law anyway.

    It will not eliminate the presence of guns and is unlikely to reduce gun violence at Alki Beach.

    My personal opinion is that these laws are only “common sense” to people who believe that there is NO legitimate reason to carry a gun for ANY reason.

  • mike July 17, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    let’s point out the nut job that was legally carrying a hand gun used it illegally AT ALKI. Hell, he was even active duty military, a person who above all others carrying a weapon SHOULD know better.

  • mike July 17, 2009 (12:45 pm)

    The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects a right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the federal government, including federal enclaves and Washington, D.C.

    It is not to allow you to be a nut job and feel trigger happy around people you work with, eat with, and live next to.

  • homesweethome July 17, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    I don’t get the problem, ban guns in parks. Edmonds bans smoking in parks and it certainly makes visiting their parks very pleasant. Its illegal to go over 20 in a school zone at school intake and let-out time and plenty of nice, good citizens do it all the time. Perhaps these are the same folks that feel they need guns in parks. Seattle is such a city of contradictions (save the fish!) but let me have my gun anywhere I want. Its hard to keep up.

  • charlabob July 17, 2009 (2:28 pm)

    You do all know that the extension of the 2nd amendment to individuals is an example of gross judicial activism, right? Existing “settled law” agreed that the amendment applied to armed militias — the right wing judicial activists rewrote law, overriding local and state jurisdictions. Look it up and weep. :-)

  • JunctionMonkey July 17, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    In order to maintain rights for all you must be willing to tolerate abuse of those rights from some or there will be no rights for anyone. There will always be cases of the “bad apple” spoiling it, but does that mean it must spoil it for everyone? Each person has a different level of “acceptable risk”. Until you can perfect people, you will have to live with that risk.

  • alki_2008 July 17, 2009 (4:03 pm)

    Comparing a gun ban in parks to a smoking ban in parks is ludicrous. Smoking is a known health risk to others that breathe the air in the vicinity…legally carrying a gun is NOT a risk to others in the vicinity.
    To those that think a gun ban in parks is “no biggee” to those that carry on a regular basis (whether YOU think they need to or not is irrelevant)…what do you expect to be done if someone is legally carrying and then needs to pass through a public park? Should they leave their gun at the edge of the park? It’s not like stamping out a cigarette and the lighting another one later on. Such a gun ban would basically force people that carry to either leave their gun at home all day, leave it in their car, or not pass through a public park at all.
    That the ACC proposed the gun ban in response to the May 1st shooting is ridiculous. Such a ban would’ve done nothing to prevent such a shooting, as others have already noted above.

  • fyi July 17, 2009 (5:50 pm)

    You comment thread is being spammed by Mike Cheney’s gun group. Not that I fundamentally disagree with their points, but they have a history of overdoing it with their “out to protect the community” with their firearms. Ask the beacon hill folks.

  • WSB July 17, 2009 (5:59 pm)

    We’ve had comment threads spammed before … or taken over by people from elsewhere (will never forget the 400-comment Nicholas Francisco discussions …). You don’t have to be a West Seattleite but you do have to follow our civility rules etc. or else you get deleted whether you’re local or not. Thanks for the heads-up, though! – TR

  • Mike Cheney July 17, 2009 (7:32 pm)

    I am not spamming anyone and whatever group you are talking about has nothing to do with “protecting the community” I asked a question. What are you talking about.

  • GC July 17, 2009 (10:19 pm)

    Jan –

    Not all firearms are the great clunky critters you seem to imagine. Many of us, in order to “not frighten the over-sensitive” carry *very* discretely – the Keltec P3AT is an example of a solid little gun in a reasonable caliber that can, in the presence of a concealed pistol license, be made effectively invisible in anything more concealing than a set of speedo’s.

    To address another commenter, I have asthma. That means *for me* “run away, run away” (my preferred strategy when faced with persons of violently hostile intent) now equates with “fall down, gasp, get the crud kicked out of you.” That does not seem a particularly happy strategy.

    Similarly, I have observed that despite best efforts “be where the trouble isn’t” – breaks down, disastrously, from time to time.

    Not unlike keeping a fire extinguisher in my house and devoutly hoping to never need it for its intended purpose (having observed that most fires aren’t substantially affected by cries of “won’t you please stop burning while I rush to Target and buy a fire extinguisher?”) – I keep my CPL up to date, and carry discreetly with much the same philosophy.

    I rather hope to make it to a happy old age without having that sort of confrontation (or a house fire, for that matter), but I’ve hedged my bets as best I can and hope to get on with life.

    The Alki Council notion of banning guns in parks is, at best, counterproductive for previously stated reasons.

    I would point out…I’ve not observed terribly many police stations or gun shops as the sites of random shootings and/or major criminal events. I have observed a disproportionate number of such tragedies occurring in “gun free zones” of various descriptions.

    That being the case, I can’t really support creation of further “enhanced vulnerability areas”.

  • Isaac July 18, 2009 (7:17 am)

    The 17 old suspect was indeed charged with first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful weapon possession. To expend state or city time to create new laws that add additional prison time are not needed. Currently under existing law, prosecutors can ask for many aggravating factors that can lead to a longer sentancing.
    Prevention, for a wide range of issues, might beginning by identifying early areas of problem. Remember that was the one of the first hot days on a Friday. Sorry folks there will be trouble. How much depends on early intervention and deescalation.

  • 56bricks July 18, 2009 (8:17 am)

    GC- the P3AT is an excellent carry that most people will never see. Myself included. They seem to all be backordered. I suppose I could carry an assault brick for self defense but that would be rather obvious so and a bit heavy carry. I’ll wait for my Keltec. “Enhanced vulnerability areas”? Have we sunk that low? My best fight lasted a little over a mile, the sucker ran out of breath. Now that I’m much older and don’t have much left in the knees that’s not an option and I WILL NOT lay down and die for a punk. Figure it out folks. It’s only your constitution at stake here. Which other parts of it should i give away? Cheerio ~

  • Gregory July 18, 2009 (10:28 am)

    Those making protestations about the Second Amendment not applying to the States are making a red herring argument. Whether the protected individual right to bear arms (Read both the majority AND dissenting opinions of the Heller case: 9-0 affirmed it as an individual right) is incorporated against the states by the federal Fourteenth Amendment is a matter for upcoming cases. It has already been determined that the Second Amendment restrains the states in the Ninth Circuit.

    We are, however, discussing a situation in Washington State, and our constitutionally protected individual right is more clearly and strongly protected against state and local intrusion:

    ARTICLE I, SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

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