Last Monday, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to change the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) current protocol for purging unused firearms. On average, SPD has 100 extra guns every year, which they sell back to manufacturers. In the past, those guns have landed in civilian hands, and in February, two officers fatally shot a man who was in possession of a gun previously registered to one of their colleagues.
In an attempt to minimize future gun violence, the City Council chose to have SPD melt down its firearms — a move that a department representative later endorsed. Shortly before the decision was made, council members were supposed to vote on a resolution that would only allow SPD to sell unused firearms to other law enforcement officials. Councilman Tim Burgess amended the legislation to ban sell backs altogether, but the idea was originally introduced by Mayor Ed Murray and Councillwoman Sally Bagshaw.
How do we reduce the number of guns when Congress won’t act?
“You know what costs this city? Is violence. Is gun violence. Is crimes involving guns,” Murray said, following the council vote. “So, gun(s) and gun violence is a huge problem for every city in America and mayors around the country are struggling with what I’m struggling with: How do we reduce the number of guns when Congress won’t act? When state legislatures often don’t act?”That vast majority of Americans support gun control in the form of expanded background checks, but Congress has yet to pass a new gun safety measure that could prevent mass shootings from happening. Meanwhile, thousands of of people are killed by firearms each year. Military-grade assault rifles that have caused some of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history — Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Virginia Tech — are still on the market.
Gun safety measures have had more luck at the state level, but most states that have passed gun laws this year have actually loosened firearm restrictions.
On Thursday afternoon, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan agreed to hold a vote on a gun bill to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on deadly firearms. The decision was made a week after 170 Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (R-AL) staged a sit-in on the House floor.