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Two well-known names unload on ‘anti-gun billionaires’

Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg is facing criticism for using his wealth to promote gun control.
Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg is facing criticism for using his wealth to promote gun control.Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Two well-known writers, including a New York Times best-selling author writing in the National Review online, and a popular actor and author, have unloaded on anti-gun billionaires including Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates yesterday and today, for pushing a Washington state gun control measure that now has the political Left turning hypocrisy into an art form.

For gun rights activists who have been fighting the proverbial “good fight” in the Evergreen State, the double drubbing could perhaps not have come at a better time. Their spirits lifted yesterday by gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb’s double-dog dare to Gates and Bloomberg to a two-on-one debate regarding 18-page Initiative 594, today’s criticism of billionaires buying votes should liven things up considerably. Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms had challenged Gates individually last week.

Frank Miniter, author of the recently-released “The Future of the Gun,” noted that I-594 “would make illegal so much of what law-abiding gun owners do as they shoot socially and go hunting that the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs now opposes Initiative 594.” This column first broke word of that opposition in late June, but it has just recently gotten any significant mainstream media publicity, suggesting that there has been something of a news blackout on the story.

“But one thing (I-594) won’t do is stop criminals from getting guns,” Miniter writes. “The criminals aren’t going to say, “Gee whiz, now we can’t buy stolen guns any more or get some guy with a clean record to buy us a gun, because you know that’s illegal.”

Then along comes Jameson Parker, perhaps best known for his role in the hit CBS series “Simon & Simon,” but also widely recognized for his outdoor writing and his autobiographical book “An Accidental Cowboy,” with this observation: “What bothers me is that is that it is an initiative crafted and backed by a gun-control organization using the funding of a handful of billionaires…” After he ticks off the names of Bloomberg, Gates and Steve Ballmer, he asks, “What the hell does Michael Bloomberg, who lives in New York, have to do with gun control in Washington State?”

Parker is not the only person asking that question since it was revealed that Bloomberg’s gun control lobbying group, “Everytown for Gun Safety,” dumped $1 million into the I-594 campaign. As Parker notes in his blog, “His Honor has spent virtually millions of dollars of his own vast fortune in an (up to now) unsuccessful attempt to influence both the laws and the outcome of elections in states as varied as Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, and now Washington.”

And there is more. Parker quickly adds, “And what I find most appalling about this is that it is the precise opposite of any definition of democracy. It is bad enough that billionaires should attempt to buy the legislation they want in their own states (think Bill Gates), but to attempt to buy the laws or change the constitution of a state where said billionaires do not even reside smacks of the worst excesses of plutocracy.”

Parker has just as much right to discuss gun control as, say, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords or Seattle Jewish Federation survivor Cheryl Stumbo. Parker was shot by a nutty neighbor years ago, but instead of turning his personal setback into a public campaign to erode the gun rights of people who didn’t pull the trigger, he’s become a formidable defender of the Second Amendment.

For that matter, Miniter is no slouch when it comes to keeping the record straight on firearms and political fixes that won’t solve the problems with criminal violence. In yesterday’s piece, he threw down the gauntlet that none of the anti-gun billionaires will likely pick up.

“If the billionaires really want to do something to help stop the mentally disturbed (who commit most of the mass murders) from getting guns,” Miniter suggests, “they could help fund the FixNICS effort (fixNICS.org). This is a lobbying campaign being spearheaded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for firearms manufacturers, to get more states to put records of those found to be insane by a court of law into the NICS system so those people can’t buy guns. Yes, the ‘gun lobby’ is doing this to make us safer; but, no, those billionaires aren’t helping.”

But it is Parker who simply nails it with a railroad spike. In his closing paragraph, he delivers something of a verbal ice bucket smackdown to those who favor I-594 simply because it goes after somebody else’s right that they don’t care for. That’s the right to keep and bear arms.

“You may be rabidly anti-gun,” he observes. “You may think Initiative 594 is the hottest thing since pancakes. But no matter what you may or may not think about that specific piece of proposed legislation, I urge you to think very carefully about the potential effects of allowing billionaires to determine the laws of the land, because the next time, it might be a piece of legislation you may not like.”