Saturday saw small but significant rallies of armed citizens in several states including Washington, as more firearms industry companies are joining a boycott of New York and other jurisdictions that adopt gun laws restricting the rights of citizens.
The big names in guns, including Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig Sauer, Sturm Ruger and other have not yet announced their intentions, but there clearly is a backlash in the works. For gun prohibitionists, it is the unintended consequence that could lead to the inability of police agencies to equip and train their officers.
Among some gun rights activists, there is a sarcastic “Gosh, what a pity” reaction. Many of those activists gathered Saturday (2/23, in reference to the caliber of so-called “assault weapons” that anti-gunners want banned, and the 23 executive orders announced by President Barack Obama) at rallies in Kirkland, Yakima, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
The crowds in Kirkland and Yakima were a far cry from the estimated 2,500 armed citizens who showed up last month in Olympia, but their appearance served as a reminder that gun owners have rights, not only to keep and bear arms, but to also exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.
Of course, Saturday’s events were competing with the big Puyallup gun show, sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors. Thousands of people attended Saturday, buying firearms and ammunition, reloading components and shooting-related equipment, and they were already lined up by the hundreds when the doors opened at 8 a.m. They also were there to associate with like-minded citizens and talk gun politics and the mood is defiant and surly.
Many were encouraged that a number of gun control proposals died with Friday's bill cut-off, including a measure to ban so-called “assault weapons.” Others are waiting to see what unfolds with a still-alive measure on background checks that is being brokered with the involvement of Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb.
He has set some stiff conditions that anti-gunners may fund unpalatable, but if the offer is rejected, the political blood — as Gottlieb said the other day in a statement — will be on their hands.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Congress may be on the verge of a “deal” on background checks. If Washington State can set its own regulations, that might be enough to exempt the state from anything adopted at the federal level.
It all adds up to a political message that is being sent to gun prohibitionists that they have clearly crossed the line. New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama may not care to listen, but they may not have a choice.
A message this loud could become hard to ignore.