PAY BACK TAXPAYER FUNDS AND APOLOGIZE

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

BELLEVUE, WA-“On behalf of the hundreds of members of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms residing in Seattle, we demand the city be reimbursed for this misuse of taxpayer funds to promote misinformation in an effort to mislead the public about this important issue,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Committee.
On Tuesday, April 27th, the Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, City Attorney Tom Carr, along Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, along with state legislators and representatives of two special interest gun control advocacy organizations conducted a press conference calling for renewal of the 1994 federal “ban” on certain semi-automatic firearms. The so-called “ban,” actually a freeze on future production, is set to expire on September 13, 2004.
“In these times of significant budget shortfalls and shrinking revenues, does the City of Seattle have the time and resources to promote the agenda of extremist special interests,” asked Gottlieb? “Site preparation, staff time, publication of their press release, and loss of productive time on the part of Nickels, Carr and Kerlikowske cost the taxpayers of Seattle real money. No matter what position you take on gun control, all citizens should be incensed at this abuse of the taxpayers’ trust. It’s no wonder the people’s faith in our political institutions is eroding.”
Committee executive director Joe Waldron noted several errors of fact in the press statement, an abysmal display of ignorance of the law by the very people entrusted to enforce it. “For example, many of these so-called assault weapons are used by members of Kerlikowske’s own police department, along with tens of thousands of other competitive shooters across the country, in registered shooting matches almost every weekend of the year. Several of these matches are conducted in King County alone” As for the Brady Center’s use of BATF trace data to claim a decrease in the use of these firearms as a result of the ban, Waldron cites a Congressional Research Service report that shows trace data is not a reliable indicator of the use of a firearm in a crime. Traces are conducted for a variety of reasons.
“Chief Kerlikowske’s statement that so-called assault weapons are the ‘choice for criminals,’ is not backed up by the facts,” added Gottlieb. “Numerous federal and state studies show such weapons are used in fewer than 2% of firearm crimes, both before and after the production freeze took effect.”
“Use of taxpayer funds in an attempt to defraud the public is reprehensible,” observed Gottlieb. “Mayor Nickels, City Attorney Carr and Chief Kerlikowske owe the citizens of Seattle an apology as well as a return of the funds expended in this nefarious attempt to deceive the public and sway public opinion.”