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It’s official: Bloomberg’s ‘Everytown’ to push Wash. gun control measure

It's official, Michael Bloomberg's "Everytown" lobbying group has jumped into the push for Initiative 594 in Washington.
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz

Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million so-called “grassroots” organization, “Everytown for Gun Safety,” made it official Tuesday, filing papers with the Public Disclosure Commission, creating an “action fund” to support Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure sponsored by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR).

That probably should come as no surprise to gun rights advocates who oppose the measure, and are also supporting Initiative 591, a simple one-page proposal that prevents government gun confiscation without due process and requires that background checks in Washington comply with a uniform national standard. “Everytown” filed 24 hours after it was reported that a second statewide law enforcement group, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), had voted to oppose I-594 and support I-591.

The first group of law enforcement professionals to line up against the gun control initiative was the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA). With two influential statewide law enforcement groups standing against their measure, WAGR will need Bloomberg’s big bucks to drown out the message that cops think I-594 is bad news.

“Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594” lists a Seattle post office box, but there’s also a street address where the group’s books can be examined. That same address has also served as campaign headquarters for efforts to re-elect Seattle council members Jean Godden, Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen, and for the campaign to re-elect State Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens and retain Justice Mary Yu.

WAGR is largely funded by wealthy Seattle-area urban elitists, while Protect Our Gun Rights – the coalition behind I-591 – is a genuine grassroots effort involving not-so-wealthy gun collectors, competitive shooters, hunters, citizen firearms instructors and rank-and-file law enforcement. WAGR has already raised and spent more than twice the amount of the POGR camp.

Everytown’s official entry into the dueling initiatives fracas was reported to Examiner today by POGR's Phil Watson, who turned down an invitation from the Clallam County League of Women Voters to participate in a Sept. 28 program on the two initiatives. Watson said the state League of Women Voters (LVW) is already on record in support of I-594, and is even promoting it on their website.

“Further research on the LWVWA website has found your group previously and currently endorses anti-Second Amendment legislation, including advocating for gun bans,” Watson said in his e-mail to the Clallam group. “Additionally, after linking to 9 anti-gun groups first, your group linked only to our and two other pro-Second Amendment websites all the way down at the bottom of the page. And perhaps most telling of all, the LWVWA website links to several anti-gun messaging and propaganda guides, as well as several anti-Second Amendment groups.”