OLYMPIA, Wash. - Common sense seems to have taken a vacation again in the state capital. The stately Capitol Building is undergoing extensive remodeling and earthquake repair work and one of the requirements is installation of metal detectors. The equipment alone will cost about $1.2 million.
State officials are also in the process of repealing the rule that bans firearms inside the seat of state government.
Here's the scenario and follow closely because it's a bit convoluted:
The rule banning firearms is considered unenforceable because state law doesn't forbid guns except in specific places - a list that doesn't include the Capitol.
Why, reasonable people might ask?
A visitor will be able to carry a firearm onto the Capitol Campus and through the detector if he or she has a permit, doesn't wave the gun around and doesn't scare people with it, according to the Department of General Administration.
But, thinking people might reason, what if someone just pulls a licensed gun and starts shooting?
Bottom line: The remodeled Capitol will have metal detectors, but if you have a concealed weapons permit you can still carry a gun into the building, something you can't even legally do in banks, post offices, the county courthouse or federal court building.
The decision to formally repeal the rule that conflicts with the law - a law that most definitely needs fixing - followed a March 6 petition from two Port Orchard residents, Merton and Myrtle Cooper.
Merton Cooper, a retiree who's a fixture at legislative hearings and other public meetings, called the state plan to add weapons screening "stupid" and said the Capitol will be safer if people are allowed to carry concealed firearms inside.
We won't get into that debate except to say there is absolutely no reason for anyone to pack a gun, or any weapon for that matter, into the state capital under any circumstances.
A bill to ban weapons in the statehouse died in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year. Rep. John Lovick, a State Patrol sergeant, argued for the ban bill and the metal detectors, but now questions whether one will work without the other.
"Why do we need to lease these screeners if it's OK to have weapons?" asked Lovick, D-Mill Creek, who said he would push again for a bill banning weapons in the Capitol if he's re-elected this year.
If he doesn't, someone else certainly should.
Common sense and public safety demand no less.