Initiative 591 was officially certified Friday by Secretary of State Kim Wyman, and according to the count, it garnered more signatures than the opposing measure, Initiative 594, and if one compares data from the Public Disclosure Commission here and here, they did it with about half of the money.
It might have been interesting to ask I-594’s chief financial backer, wealthy Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, about that had the numbers been available when he spoke Friday morning with KVI’s John Carlson during the 6 o’clock hour commute. It was an interesting conversation during which Hanauer acknowledged that I-594 would not have prevented mass shootings like the one that left former Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords disabled, six other people dead and a dozen more wounded.
According to Wyman’s office, I-591 was certified with 349,860 signatures, while I-594 was certified with 346,834 signatures earlier this month, a margin of 3,026 signatures. That may not seem significant until one reads the latest e-mail from the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility that was sent out today over Giffords’ signature, three days after she testified in support of I-594 Tuesday before the state House Judiciary Committee.
In the e-mail, Giffords writes “we have a small yet vocal opposition to overcome.” It would appear from the numbers that the “small” opposition is a bit larger than WAGR imagined, or might want the public to know. The Giffords/WAGR e-mail also repeated a deceptive figure used by her husband, Mark Kelly, during Tuesday’s testimony regarding the number of “Washingtonians killed with a gun from 2001 to 2010.” Kelly testified that during that ten-year period, 5,692 people died in the Evergreen State from gunshot wounds.
One might get the impression that we’re talking about homicides, but that’s not accurate. The majority of these fatalities were suicides, and some were accidents. And, breaking down the figure over that ten-year period, it averages to just over 569 fatalities annually. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, in Washington State in 2009, for example, there were 190 homicides and in 2010, there were 152 homicides.
Hearings on both initiatives were dominated by discussions of I-594, the 18-page gun control measure that drew as many opponents as it did supporters. But the testimony in support of I-594 was based far more on emotion than statistics, which is right out of the gun control playbook discussed months ago by this column. That testimony was also peppered with acknowledgments that I-594 would not have prevented the high-profile crimes usually mentioned by anti-gunners, had it been law where those shootings occurred.
To get an idea of how proponents of I-594 will pursue their agenda, Carlson-Hanauer discussion included this exchange:
CARLSON: Do you think that more guns in the hands of law abiding people are a good thing or a bad thing?
HANAUER: Y’know, it depends on what you mean by a law abiding person. Was the guy in Florida who shot the dude for texting in the movie theater a law abiding citizen?
CARLSON: A former cop.
HANAUER: I mean, was it a good thing for that guy to bring that gun into that theater? Answer the question. Was it a good thing for that guy to bring that gun into that theater? Would you want to sit next to that guy?
CARLSON: The answer is no, but would 594 have changed that?
HANAUER: No, absolutely not. But you asked me a different question.
Actually, Hanauer provided an answer that evaded the question Carlson did ask, and he turned the conversation to push his agenda.
That may be the strategy of what will certainly become a campaign to pass I-594 into law come November. The National Rifle Association, while not yet taking a position on I-591, has clearly come out in opposition to I-594, according to testimony delivered this week by NRA lobbyist Brian Judy.
The next ten months are going to be interesting.