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Momentum builds for big weekend ‘gun fight’

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Momentum is building across the nation for tomorrow’s anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, with events to include vigils in Seattle and Olympia, and Sunday’s “Guns Save Lives Day” activities, and one thing is clear: gun prohibitionists have plans for Washington and other states that go well beyond passing a so-called “universal background check” initiative next fall.

According to Bloomberg News, Wednesday’s gun control session at the Seattle Center turned out to be “part pep rally and part seminar.” And the Seattle Times revealed, “The national Center for American Progress Action Fund has held similar training sessions with gun-control advocates in Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.”

The Bloomberg report added that “Other battlegrounds will include states known for hunting or ranching, including Minnesota, Oregon and Nevada.” The news agency quoted Brian Malte, national policy director at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who revealed, “You will see the states make a big push on this legislation.” The purpose, he said, is to “provide sustained momentum to tell Congress to finish the job.”

This falls just short of a slap upside the head to gun rights activists in those states and elsewhere that 2014 is going to be a challenge.

The Seattle Times expects “dozens” to attend a 5:15 p.m. gathering sponsored by Moms Demand Action at Seattle’s First United Methodist Church and an Olympia gathering at the Capitol Rotunda.

Contrast that with the thousands of people who will attend this weekend’s Puyallup gun show, sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors at the Puyallup fairgrounds. It's one of scores of shows slated this weekend around the country.

Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Washington is “the only place in the nation where both sides are seeking to use the ballot box at once. It’s one of a handful of areas where national activists will press for gun-control laws after a measure to expand background checks on firearms buyers failed in the U.S. Senate.”

In the Evergreen State, handouts at Wednesday’s seminar included strong signals that anti-gunners want to dramatically change concealed carry laws. Reciprocity and open carry are unpopular with these folks.

Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, who has done more than 30 media interviews this week related to Sandy Hook, has been critical of attempts by anti-gunners to exploit the Newtown tragedy.

That much seemed to be acknowledged to the Seattle Times last night by Allison Zelman, spokeswoman for the national Center for American Progress Action Fund.

“Newtown was a big moment for the gun-violence movement,” she stated, and it was a remark that could easily be shown as one of the more ironic comments in the gun control debate.

Gun rights activists contend that anywhere gun laws are made stricter so honest citizens are disarmed, that leads to gun violence. The disarmament lobby, they say, has the blood on its hands.

Bloomberg News suggested that “gun-control advocates can build on success in places like Colorado, which passed a background-check law this year,” while quickly noting that two Colorado senators were recalled over that vote and a third gave up her seat, falling on her political sword to help keep her remaining anti-gun Democrat colleagues from losing a razor-thin majority in the state senate. If that’s what gun prohibitionists consider a success, it is an interesting perspective.

This weekend’s gun show is a final chance for many people to sign Initiative 591, the common sense one-page measure that prohibits government gun confiscation without due process, and requires background checks in the state to comply with a uniform national standard. It already appears to have more signatures than the competing 18-page gun control measure, Initiative 594.

I-591 also appears to have the populist edge, as the Seattle Times reported, “Supporters of I-591 have already turned in some 340,000 signatures, while an I-594 spokesman said the measure has collected more than 325,000.

“I-591 has raised around $700,000,” the newspaper added, “while I-594 has collected more than $1.25 million, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.”

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