The Seattle Times is reporting this afternoon that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety” gun control lobby is donating another million dollars to the burgeoning Initiative 594 war chest in what amounts to an effort, says gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, of a few wealthy elitists to “buy the election.”
With this contribution, Bloomberg joins local billionaires Bill Gates, Nick Hanauer, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer in providing more than half of the campaign budget to pass the 18-page gun control measure sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. That’s not all the money being spent to push so-called “universal background checks” in the Evergreen State, either. Gottlieb challenged Gates to a debate earlier this week.
Another billionaire-funded group, the Center for Gun Responsibility, has been running television spots for the past few weeks clearly aimed at drumming up support for the initiative, without identifying the measure in their advertisements. Those ads are supposed to end by next week.
“It’s looking more like ‘Every Billionaire for Gun Control’ wants to buy this election,” said Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Voters should be very concerned when wealthy elitists like Bloomberg believe that their civil rights are for sale.”
Gottlieb is also chairman of Protect Our Gun Rights (POGR), sponsors of competing Initiative 591, which is scheduled to launch television and radio advertising starting Monday. POGR is also distributing yard signs and bumper stickers, which will start appearing over the Labor Day weekend.
According to the Times, John Feinblatt, president of the Everytown lobbying group, insists that the I-594 campaign “will keep Washington communities safer and respect Second Amendment rights.” However, there is no mention in the report that two of the state’s largest and oldest law enforcement organizations oppose I-594 and support the POGR measure, I-591. That was reported earlier Friday in an Associated Press story published by the Times on-line.
“The state’s largest and most respected law enforcement organizations, representing more than 7,500 rank-and-file officers, oppose I-594,” Gottlieb noted. He was referring to the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) and the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA).
“The billionaires are trying to drown the opposition with a flood of money,” Gottlieb observed. “In addition to Bloomberg, billionaires Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer and Nick Hanauer have invested small fortunes in their juggernaut campaign to buy the election.
“No one elected these people to control your life,” Gottlieb said in a published statement. “That is especially true with Bloomberg. I’ll remind every citizen of the state that you have a vote in this election, and Michael Bloomberg doesn’t, because he doesn’t live in Washington. He just wants to buy it.”
I-591 has raised just over $1 million, which is far overshadowed by the big money being spent to pass the gun control issue. Grassroots activists are starting to shift gears, however, by raising small donations and reaching out to the estimated 1.5 million gun owners in Washington. There are about 465,000 people with concealed pistol licenses, and they would not be exempt from the measure.