Knezovich not impressed with Obama, Inslee gun control initiatives
SPOKANE, Wash. — As both President Obama and Washington Governor Jay Inslee have proposed initiatives to staunch gun violence, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich found common ground on only one point: The focus on mental health.
Obama sparked national controversy Tuesday with his executive action on gun control. The president moved to expand background checks, requiring all gun dealers to be licensed. He also plans to overhaul the FBI’s background check system and will require mental health information to be part of those background checks.
On the heels of the president’s announcement, Governor Inslee took his own steps Wednesday to combat the issue of gun violence in the state of Washington.
“Every day someone in the state of Washington dies from gun violence,” Inslee said.
Inslee signed an executive order launching a statewide public health initiative to reduce and prevent gun-related fatalities and injuries.
“I applaud looking at the mental health aspect of this because the mental health system in Washington is broken,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.
But that’s about all Knezovich agrees with on Inslee and Obama’s initiatives.
“Everything else that I’ve heard on this issue is just more political rhetoric, quite frankly every time someone does something like this my lobby fills up with more people that want to have concealed carry (license),” Knezovich said.
Inslee plans to expand the voter approved initiative requiring background checks be performed on all gun purchases in the state, including gun shows, online sales or through private parties. Inslee added Wednesday that as a result of the 2014 voter-approved measure 5,000 more background checks for gun purchases were done last year.
Knezovich said reasonable background checks are a good thing, but he never thought the law was.
“As I stated when it was going to the ballot, it’s a broken law in that no one is enforcing because there is no way to enforce it,” he said.
The bottom line Knezovich’s mind is that in order to stop gun violence you need to focus on those harming others and not law abiding citizens.
“Law enforcement does not need more unenforceable laws, what we need is the tools to take criminals off the streets and for those criminals to actually face the punishment,” Knezovich said. “We don’t need to target law abiding gun owners with anymore regulation.”