Afternoon Jolt

Monday Jolt: Guns and Gender

The day's winners and losers.

By Afternoon Jolt August 26, 2013

Afternoon Jolt

Today's winner: Mayor Mike McGinn

As we mentioned Friday, Mayor Mike McGinn went head to head with host (and, as she mentioned repeatedly, former criminal defense attorney) Greta Van Susteren about Seattle's new initiative to provide window decals to businesses that want to declare themselves gun-free zones. 

Although Jolt thinks the program is mostly symbolic (under state law, Seattle can't bar people from carrying legal concealed weapons, and the stickers only inform people that the business doesn't want them to bring in a gun) we also think McGinn represented progressive Seattle well on national TV, arguing convincigly that private businesses have as much right to ask customers not to carry guns onto their property as they have to turn away people who aren't wearing shoes or shirts. 

"We’ve seen tragedies in our own city and we see no action from our federal government. We have a state government that actually prevents me, as mayor, from banning guns in our parks and community centers," McGinn said.

"A businessman has a right to say, don’t bring your gun into my business."—Mayor Mike McGinn

"We'd actually like to see the federal government close the gun show loophole so that the criminals [would have] a tougher time getting a gun. We’d like to have a state law giving our city more opportunities to regulate guns locally. We don’t see that, and frankly, the people of Seattle are outraged by what’s going on."

Van Susteren argued that criminals determined to rob a store or shoot someone wouldn't be deterred by a sticker. McGinn immediately agreed, noting, "If someone is going to come in with a gun, decal or no decal, that’s going to happen. ... A determined criminal will be able to commit a crime; I concede that. But we see so much gun violence that is caused because a minor incident escalates. And what we’re saying in the city is that this is not the culture that we want to support and a businessman has a right to say, don’t bring your gun into my business."

It was a clever way of turning the conservative argument against gun regulations on its head: Instead of arguing that guns are bad, McGinn made the (conservative) case that private business owners have a right to say what is and isn't allowed on their own property.

Today's loser: Ed Murray. 

Here's a follow-up to this morning's Fizz, where mayoral candidate and state Sen. Murray (D-43) responded to our request for a statement about Seattle Times writer Bruce Ramsey's ignorant post on Chelsea (neé Bradley) Manning. (Manning announced that she plans to live her life as a woman and Ramsey "burst out laughing.")

Frankly, Murray's response was pretty milquetoast: He said gender identity "is a serious issue that should be treated seriously" and then touted his work for civil rights legislation that included transgender individuals, noting that the Seattle Times supported that proposal.

We would have expected a more forceful condemnation from Murray, a longtime champion for LGBT civil rights.

The Times endorsed Murray over McGinn.

Asked for a statement about Ramsey's blog post, McGinn himself declined to comment directly, though his spokesman, Aaron Pickus, did say: "When we eliminated the transgender surgery exclusion from the city's health insurance coverage, we saw similar comments [to Ramsey's]. However, that was in anonymous blog comment threads. The Seattle Times can do better."


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