Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. (AP)
Governor Inslee is doing something unbelievably petty.
Back in 1903, there was a group that started in our nation called the Civilian Marksmanship Program. They would get together and have shooting competitions. It was for a while under the auspices of the Department of Defense. Here in Washington, they have a couple of groups that go and compete in marksmanship — the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association, and the Washington State Police Pistol Association.
This organization always holds an annual banquet, where the top shooters — both civilians and law enforcement officers — are given certificates signed by the governor. Most states do this every year. It’s known as the Governor’s 20.
“The Governor’s 20 has been around for years — it’s a competition of law enforcement officers [who] are competing for skills,” Jane Milhans of the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association told me.
This year, however, Governor Inslee’s office sent this letter ahead of the banquet.
“The certificates that were signed last May will be the final certificates signed by the governor … Governor Inslee is no longer able to support any program affiliated with the National Rifle Association (NRA), due to the organization’s obstructive efforts to undermine common sense gun safety measures, including those that enjoy broad public support. We understand competitors will be disappointed by this decision; however, the Governor [sic] believes constructive conversations and meaningful action around gun safety are necessary to better protect our families and communities.”
Let me tell you the extent of the NRA’s involvement. The organization that runs this is just a little 501 (c)(3). They only register these competitions with the NRA so the shooters can get classifications if they set national records and so that the NRA can set a common set of standards for each state’s competition.
“The big focus and emphasis [of the NRA] is all on safety, and even the NRA … will provide training to smaller law enforcement agencies that don’t have the manpower for a training department,” Milhans said.
So because they register their event with the NRA, Governor Inslee will no longer sign certificates. One of the winners last year in the civilian competition was a 16-year-old female high school junior.
“I thought he was spitting in the face of law enforcement officers … it’s an honor to win the award, for one thing,” Milhans said. “Law enforcement officers lay their lives on the line every day, and I feel they deserve the recognition. So I was saddened by that.”
Milhans volunteers hundreds of hours a year teaching women how to defend themselves with firearms after her own home was broken into. She feels that Governor Inslee is ignoring the concerns of female gun owners who want to have a firearm in order to feel safe.
“He has not reached across the aisle to people like me, to talk about why women are firearm owners … As a survivor of a home invasion, it’s really important to me that women learn how to protect themselves,” she said.
Governor, I hate to tell you this as you’re going around telling everyone how great our weed is, but we do have problems in this state. Some people need protection, Mr. Governor. You want people who are armed to make sure that they’re well-trained in the use of their gun and go to the range. The fact of the matter is, with all the drug junkie vagrants roaming around our state, a lot of people don’t have time to wait for the cops to come seven or eight minutes later. Crime is through the roof, especially in Seattle. A lot of people have decided that they need to defend themselves. And you send out a petty little letter like this, Mr. Governor. It’s unbelievable.
But the reason Governor Inslee sent this letter is because he wants to run for president in 2020. He wants to get up and give his little stump speech about how green we are and how he stood up to the NRA by denying certificates to 16-year-old marksmanship competition winners.
“He has turned this into a political situation, instead of being the non-biased, non-partisan governor that he should be and recognizing law enforcement officers,” Milhans said. “I’m just really disappointed.”