March 19, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 12

Community & Editorial

It’s time to push local businesses to commit to being gun-free zones

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I am a proud member of the Seattle chapter of the Raging Grannies, an international, and internationally known, organization with a mission to promote global peace, justice and social and economic equality by raising public awareness through song and humor.

As elders, we are thoroughly disgusted and incredibly frightened by the proliferation of guns in our communities. It is horrifying to think that at any given moment there are people in our city walking around with guns in their pockets or in full view. Last summer, Martin Duckworth, a man with a history of substance abuse and untreated mental health issues, boarded a Metro bus with a gun. After a dispute over bus fare, Duckworth shot the driver, who suffered minor injuries. Duckworth then boarded another bus, where he was shot dead by police. No one knows where he got the gun.

This easy access to firearms has to stop.

There are 300 million privately owned firearms in this country. There are 50,000 gun stores in the United States, more than the number of McDonald’s restaurants. When citizens try to limit the number of guns by pushing for gun control, not only do attempts fail, but some people go out and buy more guns.

One would think that with all those guns around we would be safer, but the truth is this country experiences an alarming number of gun deaths: More than 30,000 people died in 2010 from gun violence in the U.S., the majority of them suicides, according to the PEW Research Center.

While I reluctantly concede that the Second Amendment allows for personal possession of guns, that privilege should not result in an anything-goes mentality. Why shouldn’t gun possession be limited and controlled, since guns are so lethal? Isn’t that what we are supposed to do for our society, control all dangerous products? Concealed weapons are now permitted in all 50 states: And the numbers of places where they are allowed are increasing. Some states now even allow guns on college campuses.

Since our national and state legislatures are unable to do anything substantive about the problem, we must control guns ourselves.

When Mayor Mike McGinn was in office, he began a campaign to make the places where we shop and eat gun-free zones. What a smart idea: Remove guns from public places to make us safer.

Since he’s no longer in office, the Seattle chapter of the Raging Grannies has taken up the mantle. And what better place to start than in our own neighborhoods where we spend our dollars? We want to shop where responsible business owners are responsive to our needs.

On March 8, the Grannies staged their first gun-free-zone gig and visited several businesses on Capitol Hill, after we told their owners/ managers when we would be there. As expected, we got mixed reactions. Most businesses listened to our thoughts, allowed us to sing and took a poster we designed to promote gun-free zones. But one business owner asked us to leave or else she would call the police. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not take her hostile attitude properly. I told her that as a result of her actions we would not be eating at her place. This is not the Granny way. Next time I will smile and leave the place. We then filed out and sang outside her business. Even with that interaction, we consider the gig a success, especially because it rained, and we became slightly bedraggled Raging Grannies.

And we are not discouraged — far from it. We believe that people speaking out and demanding gun-free zones can change the culture. This may be the only way we can get some relief from the nagging fear of people carrying guns.

So if you are as concerned about this issue as we are and see the validity in our campaign, we need your help. Talk to the managers and owners of the places where you eat and shop. Tell them you want their establishments to be gun-free zones. If they agree, let us know, and we will be happy to come entertain them and provide them with our posters.

We won’t stop until the places we eat and shop commit to being gun-free.

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Comments

Only a demented person would encourage businesses to become criminal only gun zones. If you see a criminal only gun zone sign.... Take your business elsewhere. Simple

Wilhelm von Mayer | submitted on 03/22/2014, 8:38pm

May your tactics bring sanity to our neighborhoods!

Susan Gashel | submitted on 03/24/2014, 6:12pm


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