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Greenwood murder case prompts support for teen gun bill

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SEATTLE — Teens and guns can be a lethal combination, as we saw recently in the killing of an innocent Greenwood man out for his evening walk.

On the night of Feb. 23, Kimberly Peterson’s husband, David, was gunned down around 11:30 p.m.  Police say it was 17-year-old Ballard High School football player Byron White, who pulled the trigger after a struggle to steal the victim’s cell phone.

“The best we can tell is he is a young man who has a gun in his pocket and there’s a little bravado that goes with being armed.  There’s this lethal combination of testosterone and gun powder we see a lot here,” King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Thursday.


Byron White (Photo: Seattle Police Dept. via Facebook)

According to court documents, White’s friends said White admitted to them that night that he “had to shoot him” because Peterson had seen his face.  Police say White then complained that the victim’s phone “wasn’t as nice as he had hoped.”

“It’s bothered me for a while that the laws in the state of Washington seem so ridiculously lenient in this one area of kids carrying guns,” said Satterberg.

That is why Satterberg is supporting House Bill 2164, which would require earlier intervention for juveniles caught with guns.  Right now, it takes five convictions before a teen or child is sent to a detention center.  This new legislation would require action right away.

“Upon that first conviction for gun possession, there is a mandatory intervention,” Satterberg said. “We will require  evidence-based programs and professional therapists to work with the family and child to figure out why is this child carrying a gun, why do they think they think they need it and do what we don’t do very well, which is to warn kids about the consequences.”

White is charged with first-degree murder.  He is being held on $2 million bail and will be arraigned at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on March 17.


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  • Dirt

    "To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege."
    [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)]
    For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution."
    [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)]
    " `The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right."
    [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]
    "The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff."
    [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928 (1922)]
    "The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions."
    [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]
    "The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power."
    [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

    Carry one, Don't be a victim.