Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, whose Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the front lines in a battle over gun rights in Washington State, unloaded on Initiative 594 yesterday during an interview with KTTH radio’s Ben Shapiro, warning that “The devil is in the details of 594.”
“People just read the words ‘background check’ and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll vote for it without knowing what’s in it’,” Gottlieb observed.
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The veteran gun rights leader, who also founded the Second Amendment Foundation 40 years ago, has his work cut out. Earlier this week, the Elway Poll showed I-594 with strong public support, while it appears support for his alternative measure, Initiative 591, has lost some ground. However, the Elway Poll also showed that nearly one-third of the survey participants would vote for both measures.
I-594, according to critics, is a giant step in the wrong direction that will ultimately render the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to the status of a heavily-regulated government privilege. Among those critics are some 5,400 rank-and-file Evergreen State law enforcement professionals who are opposing I-594 and supporting I-591, a detail that does not seem to be getting much attention.
For a look at what Gottlieb is intimating, one need look 3,000 miles to the east and the situation in Massachusetts. Yesterday, Bay State gun prohibitionists were crying the blues following a successful effort by members of the state senate to pull a provision from a gun bill that, according to the Boston Globe, “would give (police) chiefs the same discretion they currently have on issuing handgun licenses and apply it to rifles and shotguns.”
That is, the constitutionally-protected civil right to keep and bear arms would be up to the discretion of a local police chief. How many other civil rights would people be willing to surrender to the whims of a police official? At last check, Massachusetts was still part of the United States, not a police state.
There was a revealing reaction from John Rosenthal, president of Stop Handgun Violence, that showed where his sentiments lay. He called the stripped portion “the most significant gun safety measure in the bill” and claimed “people will die as a result of it, as they have for years.” It’s the same rhetoric that anti-gunners have used for years to fool low-information voters into supporting their agenda.
On the other side of the debate, Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, was declaring victory. That may seem a relative term west of the Mississippi, but Massachusetts is on the wrong side of that river, where even a small victory amounts to a significant win.
Looking even deeper into the anti-gun mindset, yesterday The Blaze reported that freshman Democrat Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois is behind the proposed Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act. That measure would “ban...the use of cartoon characters to sell guns, and a ban firearm branded merchandise for children such as hats, t-shirts and stuffed animals.” She claims that such “marketing” has been “contributing to the shooting deaths of children across the country.”
All of this together sounds like there might be a Michael Bloomberg lurking in the shadows. He’s throwing money around the map to push his social agenda, which is heavy on gun control and micro-managing people’s lives. Two years ago it was 32-ounce sodas; this year it is clothing that might feature a beloved cartoon character like Elmer Fudd with his shotgun, looking for a “wascally wabbit.”
Bloomberg’s concept of “reasonable gun control” is giving police authorities the power to deny gun rights arbitrarily. His “Everytown for Gun Safety” $50 million so-called “grassroots” anti-gun lobbying group is supporting I-594.
On Gottlieb’s side of the equation are genuine grassroots activists who are operating on a shoestring budget and have already been out-spent better than three-to-one. That fact alone tends to put the lie to whines from the I-594 camp that they’re up against a big-money gun lobby juggernaut. Quite the opposite appears to be the case.
Gottlieb told Shapiro that Washington is something of a test case. If anti-gunners succeed here, they will take what they learn to other states, notably Nevada and Oregon right now, to push the same restrictive agenda there.