The debate between U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and her challenger Republican Tiffany Smiley revealed to voters the stark differences between the two who are vying to represent Washington voters in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Murray showed that she would lead the effort to rubber stamp President Joe Biden’s gun control wishes while Smiley would stand for Americans’ Constitutional rights.
For Sen. Murray, her gun control platform is based on two tries and a lie.
The issues of crime and gun control were both featured questions in the debate. Sen. Murray assailed her opponent for earning the backing of the NRA, but Smiley countered that she also earned the backing of The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) and the Fraternal Order of Police. Sen. Murray had no response when Smiley pointed out that she stood on the Senate floor in June 2020 demanding that police funds be diverted from those in uniform.
“We have a crime crisis in Washington state,” Smiley said. “It doesn’t matter if you live in Spokane or you live in Asotin County or you’re up in the San Juan Islands. I’ve been everywhere and crime is on the rise everywhere. My opponent, Senator Murray, June of 2020, she went on the Senate floor called for funds to be diverted from our police force.”
Sen. Murray pivoted away from her call to defund police and instead pointed to guns as the driver of crime. She pointed to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as just “small steps,” teeing up her gun control wish list.
“We need to ban assault weapons,” Sen. Murray said. “We need to make sure we have really good background checks and enforce our ability to make sure that those who are dangerous do not have guns.”
Those claims, though, don’t follow what crime experts know. First, the FBI just released its Uniform Crime Report that showed – again – that more murders are committed with knives, fists and clubs than by all rifles combined, not just the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR), or what she maligns as an “assault weapon.”
Also, it was the firearm industry that has been pushing for accuracy in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The firearm industry championed the idea of creating a point-of-sale instant background check. It was also the firearm industry that pushed to get 16 states to change their laws to submit all disqualifying adjudicated mental health records submitted to the FBI so the background check system works as intended. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) named his legislation – the FIX NICS Act – after NSSF’s program.
That legislation compels federal agencies and incentivizes states to submit all disqualifying records to the FBI. Further, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act looks at the juvenile records of adults under 21 to ensure there are no factors that happened as a youth that would disqualify an adult to purchase a firearm.
Sen. Murray might not remember the success of the FIX NICS Act because she chose not to co-sponsor the bill, despite 78 senators that did. Her claims that not enough is being done to look at background checks is disingenuous.
Sen. Murray also lied to the audience that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot conduct research into so-called gun violence. They have and they do. She’s referring to the Dickey Amendment, which was first signed into law in 1993. The amendment states, “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
The key words are “advocate or promote gun control.” It’s simply not true that the funding for research hasn’t been there, as antigun advocates and their allies in Congress would have the public believe. The CDC’s budget has more than tripled since the Dickey Amendment was passed to over $6 billion. If the CDC was being told they couldn’t study anything gun-related, they didn’t listen very well.
The CDC studied guns and suicide, noise and lead exposure at ranges, firearm violence prevention in Wilmington, Del., and issued a report on firearm homicides and suicides in metropolitan areas. That doesn’t include studies by the FBI, Department of Justice and Congressional studies.
President Barack Obama signed a 2013 Executive Order that gave $10 million to the CDC for “gun violence” research.
Sen. Murray’s claims that guns are the cause of crime ring hollow. She was silent when “Raz the Warlord” was passing out rifles from a Tesla in Seattle’s infamous Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) during the violence that raged in the summer of 2020.
Smiley came to the debate with the receipts to show Sen. Murray’s grudge against lawful gun ownership and blind eye to crime.
“We need to make sure that we protect our Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens and that we keep weapons out of the hands of criminals,” Smiley said. “Again, crime is out of control, Senator Murray you are to blame. Anyone can go to her record at pattyversuspublicsafety.com. Thirty years in the Senate and this is where we are.”
The fact that the Seattle Times did not say that their endorsed candidate Patty Murray won the debate shows that even they acknowledge that Tiffany Smiley cleaned her clock. https://t.co/ZvU6FBtiHM
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) October 24, 2022
NSSF did just that. The record there shows that Sen. Murray is advocating for the wrong people. While she works to deny law-abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves, she voted against legislation to target criminals, voted to let crimes go without prosecution and actually voted to allow criminals in prison to receive taxpayer-funded stimulus checks. Her admonition of crime that ravaged Seattle was pathetic. Smiley documented Sen. Murray calling CHAZ “legitimate anger,” even though it was the site of murders, assaults and robberies.
Washington voters have a chance to make change. Sen. Murray offers more of the same. More attempts at gun control. More lies about funding the CDC. More rubber stamps for President Joe Biden’s wish list to ban guns. Washington voters can learn how to register to vote, where to vote and on Nov. 8, turn out. Don’t Risk Your Rights. #GUNVOTE.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.