Backers of a 15-page gun control initiative are throwing a little get-together tonight at a private home in Medina, Examiner has learned, and they’re seeking donations that could range upward to several thousand dollars according to the invitation, which local gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms signals a desire “to buy your gun rights.”
Gottlieb did not receive one of the exclusive invitations, probably due to his involvement with Protect Our Gun Rights, which backs a competing initiative.
The fund raiser is for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), the Seattle-based group that has, according to its Public Disclosure Commission report, been spending a lot of money, about $1 million so far. WAGR has already submitted an estimated 250,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. True to form for a gun control group, the invitation has an image of the Newtown, Connecticut Memorial in the background.
As is widely known, a background check would not have prevented that tragedy. Gunman Adam Lanza obtained his firearms by murdering his mother and taking her guns, which she had legally purchased in a state with some of the toughest gun laws in the country.
Examiner learned of this gathering today about the same time that an update on active concealed pistol licenses arrived from the Department of Licensing. As of today, there were 446,550 CPLs in circulation, up about 1,200 since this column’s last check on Sept. 19, but more than 53,750 since Jan. 2.
This surge in demand for CPLs bothers gun prohibitionists who favor the kind of gun laws now in effect in New York State. Today, a newspaper in Syracuse picked up the op-ed from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that was discussed by this column. Ironically, the column was headlined “Why the nation should adopt New York's gun background check approach.”
The irony is that it appeared when the New York Daily News was reporting the weekend body count in New York City where a dozen people were shot and five of them killed.
The invitation asks recipients to join Rich & Sarah Barton, Eric Dillon, Lenore Hanauer, Nick & Leslie Hanauer, Tina Podlodowski and Jon Shirley “for an informative evening in support of” WAGR. According to the PDC report, these eight people have contributed a combined total of $309,000 to the WAGR initiative campaign, with Nick Hanauer personally donating $165,000.
The PDC report says that WAGR has already raised more than $1 million and spent $997,753.90.
To attend this shindig, one must have some form of identification, and no photographs will be allowed inside the home in Medina, where it is taking place. It’s such an exclusive event the actual address does not even appear on the invitation. Outside photography is fine, the invitation says. Parking is off site at a nearby private school parking lot. And, those attending can pay with a check or credit card.
For $1,000, you’re a “guest.” For $5,000, you can be a WAGR “sponsor.” For $10,000, you’re a “benefactor.”
Meanwhile, Gottlieb, who is backing the alternative I-591 along with a coalition of groups that includes hunters, gun collectors and law enforcement professionals, was busy counting signatures this morning. He candidly acknowledged that the firearms community doesn’t have a lot of wealthy individuals kicking in big contributions, but it does have manpower and grassroots appeal.
As was demonstrated recently in Colorado, lots of money does not necessarily determine political outcomes, especially when a fundamental civil right is at the center of the fight.