The Associated Press and San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that another gun control lobbying group, this one based in Nevada, has launched a petition campaign to expand background checks, this time in the Silver State.
It was predictable; indeed this sort of thing was predicted months ago by Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and point man for Washington’s Initiative 591, a measure that would require Evergreen State background checks to comply with a uniform national standard. It’s up against Initiative 594, an 18-page gun control scheme pushing so-called “universal background checks” that is backed by a Seattle-based group of wealthy elitists.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the group behind that state's background check petition calls itself Nevadans for Background Checks, and it is being pushed by the Committee for Background Checks. The newspaper also reported that this group “is affiliated with a national group called Everytown for Gun Safety, which is being backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Tom Menino.”
Earlier this year, Bloomberg launched the $50 million “Everytown” organization as a “grassroots” lobbying group. Gottlieb has been expecting clones of the Washington campaign to start cropping up in every state with a citizen initiative provision, because $50 million can buy a lot of "activism."
The Associated Press report said a similar measure was actually passed last year in the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval “amid strong opposition from gun rights groups.” It remains to be seen whether those groups will step forward to mount an opposing petition or simply oppose the gun control effort.
In order to get their petition qualified, backers need to collect 101,667 signatures by Nov. 11; by coincidence, that’s Washington State’s birthday. Next year, lawmakers in Carson City could either approve or reject the petition, according to the Associated Press, and if it is rejected, the measure goes on the ballot in 2016.
Nevadans for Background Checks has a website, which has a message that says this: “The Background Check Initiative will close loopholes in Nevada law that make it all too easy for felons, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill to buy guns.
“We have the right to bear arms, but with rights come responsibilities, including the responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.
“That’s why federal law currently prohibits felons, domestic abusers, the severely mentally ill, and other dangerous people from buying guns, and background checks are required for all gun sales at licensed dealers.
“But criminals and other dangerous people can easily buy guns from unlicensed sellers—including strangers they meet online and at gun shows—without a background check required under federal law, no questions asked.
“Due to this loophole, millions of guns exchange hands each year without the simple 90-second background check that could stop a criminal from buying a gun. And the Internet only makes this loophole worse by creating a virtual gun show for anonymous gun sales between complete strangers.”
What is wrong with this narrative is that none of the mass shootings in recent memory involved guns purchased at gun shows. A famous study for the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that less than one percent of convicted armed felons got their guns from gun shows, and it is highly unlikely that anyone trading or selling a gun to a criminal is going to bother with a background check.
In pushing citizen initiatives, anti-gunners hope to create the appearance that everybody supports extremist gun laws and are forced into action because Congress and state legislatures are somehow all beholden to, or afraid of, the so-called “gun lobby.” In reality, gun prohibitionists with lots of money can create any kind of illusion they want.
Nevadans for Gun Safety appears to have a professional public relations firm. Its website says to contact Melissa Warren, who just happens to be the managing partner at Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations & Government Affairs in Las Vegas.
Gun rights advocates in Nevada and Washington could use some help from gun owners across the country, and they do not have a professional PR firm. Already in Washington, anti-gunners have raised and spent almost twice the amount of money raised by supporters of I-591, the Protect Our Gun Rights coalition. CCRKBA is joined by gun collectors, law enforcement professionals, target shooters, hunters and other grassroots activists in their fight.