Six months ago, on Dec. 14, 2012, a deranged gunman slaughtered 20 schoolchildren and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, gun control advocates, armed with the support of strong public opinion, have presented remedies to prevent future tragedies, and found little support in Congress or state legislatures.
Despite polling evidence of overwhelming public support for universal background checks, few lawmakers at any level of government have found the courage to stand up to the vocal National Rifle Association.
This week, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility filed an initiative to require criminal background checks on every gun purchase in the state. We expect they will gather more than enough signatures to put the question to voters in November of 2014.
The group had unsuccessfully lobbied state legislators to take action during the regular session. Now, as state legislators take Washington to its own fiscal cliff over budget disagreements, it appears our state legislators have forgotten Sandy Hook.
The public also seems to have lost its outrage. Did anyone notice during last week’s news about National Security Administration data collection that another mass murderer opened fire with an automatic weapon and killed five people at California’s Santa Monica College?
Perhaps the WAGR can rekindle broad support to pass its initiative in November 2014. Maybe the threat of an initiative will cause state lawmakers to act on their own.
Meanwhile, an Olympia group called Olympia MoveOn is planning a vigil on the six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings at 4 p.m. today in Heritage Park.
The least we can do is not forget.