Despite the occurrence of several violent crimes, Washington Democrats are currently attempting to revoke your innate right to self-defense in the locations where it is most crucial. Through their latest legislation, they aim to prohibit the possession of weapons, including legally acquired guns and knives, at bus stops and transit centers.
SB 5444 is not simply an overreach; it constitutes a direct assault on law-abiding citizens. What’s more, it disproportionately impacts the very demographics that Democrats often advocate for. The irony of this situation is both palpable and deeply frustrating.
Under current legislation, there are already restrictions in place regarding the possession of weapons in specific locations, such as courtrooms, bars, and restricted areas. However, Senate Bill 5444 takes these restrictions to an extreme level by including public libraries, zoos, aquariums, parks, community centers, and other public buildings on the prohibited list for self-defense purposes.
The ban is not only alarming, but it also includes transit stations and facilities. The soft-on-crime policies of Washington Democrats have already made our buses and light-rail vulnerable to danger. Instead of addressing the problem, the ban on weapons for self-defense is only making it worse.
Mass transit can be dangerous — especially in and around Seattle
In 2023, Western Washington experienced a series of prominent and violent crimes, several of which occurred at the transit locations that SB 5444 aims to address.
Sound Transit hired more security personnel in response to a series of violent attacks at their stations. In September, a homeless man was charged with a hammer attack against two random victims in their 60s. Another unprovoked incident occurred in July, where a man stabbed a passenger 18 times at a light-rail train near Othello Station.
A man was also bludgeoned in the head with a rock at a Sound Transit station in SODO in July. In November, a stabbing at the Northgate station left a man critically wounded. These incidents, along with several others, prompted Sound Transit to take action and increase their security measures.
Bus agency properties did not fare any better. If you have the means to defend yourself from these dangers, you would be breaking this law.
Say goodbye to self-defense
Transit advocates who attempt to conceal the truth should be disregarded. It is important to acknowledge that our mass transit system is not as secure as it should be. However, it is concerning that Democrats are seeking to strip us of reasonable means to protect ourselves.
Washington Democrats frequently advocate for legislation that reduces the consequences criminals face for their actions. Despite this, we have managed to retain some means of safeguarding ourselves and our loved ones from the very criminals that Democrats are eager to spare. However, if this bill is approved, we will once again become vulnerable and defenseless.
State Senator Javier Valdez (D-Seattle), the sponsor of the bill, has not provided any clarification on his goals or intentions. Despite a request for comment, he has remained silent. It is difficult to discern the exact purpose of the bill, but it seems unlikely that it aims to increase the jail time for criminals found with weapons.
This is because such offenses are already illegal, and Democrats are actually advocating for legislation that reduces penalties for gun-related crimes. Instead, this bill appears to be targeting law-abiding citizens, particularly those residing in low-income communities who heavily rely on mass transit.
This bill prohibits individuals from being both full-time mass transit users and carrying a weapon for self-defense. Consequently, SB 5444 denies low-income Washingtonians their right to bear arms.
In Washington, the same holds true for black residents. According to data from King County Metro, they are more inclined to use public transportation, particularly buses, compared to their white counterparts. It is concerning that the Democratic party’s objective is to disarm law-abiding citizens, without considering the potential impact on the communities they claim to support.
Should individuals, regardless of their race or socio-economic status, sacrifice their ability to protect themselves in order to ride the bus? It is important to note that law enforcement officers will not be conducting weapon searches on passengers. Consequently, this bill could penalize individuals who use a weapon in self-defense simply because they possessed it in the first place.
The current list of prohibited areas for weapons is unlikely to be the end of the line. If this ban is passed, it is almost certain that another bill will be introduced in the next legislative session to further expand the prohibition, as the ultimate objective is to completely outlaw guns. Meanwhile, Democrats are intentionally making it more burdensome for law-abiding citizens to own guns, while criminals continue to have easy access to them.