After a 40-year-old Seattle man shot six people Wednesday for unknown reasons, some in the area are questioning what can be done to stem a recent uptick in gun violence.
The individual is suspected of shooting five at a local restaurant and a sixth when he carjacked her shortly afterward. Five of his victims were mortally wounded. The suspect later turned the gun on himself. The shooter’s brother told The Seattle Times that he was not surprised by the occurrence and that his brother was mentally ill.
Less than halfway through 2012, Seattle has already matched the total number of homicides it had throughout 2011: 21.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said during a news conference that “we also need to focus on laws that make it too easy for people to acquire guns.”
Washington state, of course, is not considered a particularly violent state when compared with those around the nation. It had an average of 2.8 murders per 100,000 residents in 2009, according to the most recent crime rates available from the federal government. Compare that to the 24.2 per 100,000 in Washington, D.C., 12.3 in Louisiana, or even 6.3 in Michigan, and Washington looks pretty safe.
However, when a tragedy like this strikes, it’s still worth looking at what more can be done, as the Seattle Mayor points out.
Washington scored a measly 15 points out of 100 on gun control from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence last year. That’s actually higher than 35 other states, but the Brady Campaign’s report card offers an easy overview of what’s missing in Washington, including mandatory theft reporting of all firearms, a limit of one handgun purchase per month, and background checks on all firearms (including gun shows).