For those of you who don’t know, a serious fight kicked off last January in Washington state. Lately I have volunteered my time to speak at gun shows and other events and let me tell you something, I am terrified. Out of the people visiting their local gun show you would expect at least 90% of the people to have at least heard about what’s going on, it’s more like 50%. Most have no real knowledge of either of the initiatives or their real legal impact and what it means for them as gun owners.
Recently gun owners accomplished a great feat in Missouri and everyone is all ecstatic, thing is strategically Washington has a lot of ground to cover and is quite likely to cause failures in other states. Not to mention they had no opposing ballot initiatives in their fight.
For those who don’t know, Bloomberg and his “Everytown” group have pledged 50 million dollars to aid in pushing Initative-594. Bloomberg has been stating he wants to crush the NRA, what better way when the NRA doesn’t even bother to show up, I’ll explain in a bit. Quite literally this is the biggest fight going on between gun owners and Bloomberg.
There is also an opposition bill, I-591, which Washington gun owners want to pass that will prevent the state from confiscating firearms under a declared emergency.
Current State of the Fight
First off, current polling data I’m getting through the grape vine, remember this fight began in January we’re 8 months in with 3 to go.
The news is, frankly, bad. We’re 8 months into a 11 month fight and running out of time. According to my sources, the numbers are running against us on the anti-gun I-594 stealth gun registration scheme, with voters polling over 2:1 in favor.
On I-591, the Gottlieb sponsored initiative banning gun seizures and forcing Washington to refrain from background checks at least until a consistent federal standard is passed is doing better – about half of voters polled support it. We can win 591 if folks get off their flabby… and start volunteering and writing checks.
The War Chests (The core data showing something’s wrong)
Now lets talk war chests and who’s been providing support and where:
Data for the contribution statistics above can be seen here.
The good news is there have also been a pile of individual donors so the total contributions thus far are in the $1 million range.
What about those pushing for I-594?
What does it actually look like?
Total raised: $3+ million dollars, including a single $30k contribution from MAIG.
What about the NRA?
The NRA has showered this fight with a whopping, wait for it, $25,000. You read that right, MAIG has actually put more money into this fight than the NRA.
What’s being done with the war chests?
It isn’t always about how much money you raise, it’s about how you spend it. Here’s how each group, on our side of the fight, has spent their contributions to the war effort.
- Created POGR
- Created I-591/594 Campaign Art
- Created I-591/594 Bumper Stickers
- Created I-591/594 Yard Signs, currently in productions
- Staff for the Washington Arms Collectors, Falcon, Knodel, and other gun shows regarding I591/I594
- Reference section regarding 591/594
- Comped tables for anyone associated with POGR at any WAC show
- Comp’d tables through CCKRBA for the NRA
- Public Representation
- Law Enforcement Networking*
*Quite honestly that is probably the biggest thing WAC, or anyone has done in this fight. You would think the NRA would have been able to do this but it was WAC. What am I talking about?
WACOPS declared support of I-591 noting that it protects background check uniformity, allows the background check debate to continue on the federal level and allows WA state standards to change if, or when, federal standards change.
At the same time WACOPS noted the many flaws of I-594 and made clear their opposition to the measure as an organization.
- Two field reps, who are forbidden to support I-591
- No campaign materials
- Outdated self-promoting material
- Complete lack of coordination in working with any of the above for the common goal
- A committee with an unknown name and no resources to actually be allowed to call itself such.
I wish I was making the above up but I am not. I have met both of the lovely young women who are working as field reps for the NRA, they expressed frustration at the way the NRA seemed to be dragging its feet. Even more importantly how they are restrained from being fully effective. The reps are being constrained from being effective by the NRA.
What exactly is the deal with I-591?
If you are a Washington state resident you want it to pass, doubly so as it creates a very interesting legal problem if I-594 passes as well. This is a part of a legal chess game and honestly this all goes back to 2013 when I wrote this earlier article. Gottlieb saw 594 on the horizon and was trying to cut it off at the pass, destroy the Washington state pistol registry while really giving them nothing. The key to screwing our enemy is make them think they have a win when they actually get nothing. Well it was done so well that the NRA that sounded that alarm, portrayed Gottlieb as a traitor and move their residential members to have the bill struck down.
Now we find our selves facing 594, and 591 was created as a response to try to help gun owners, as usual though the NRA doesn’t like it, presumably because they didn’t come up with it and their committee to form a committee hasn’t come back with an agreement yet.
Interestingly the NRA doesn’t even seem to be really reaching out to their local members except to call up and ask for more money. Tell me, why would I give a contribution to the NRA to “Help fight Michael Bloomberg” when in the biggest ongoing battle with him you’re nowhere to be found? <- Seriously they called me last week wanting me to donate money and I was starting to dig up this information. I’m about ready to say I will not be getting the life membership I was thinking about getting this December as a birthday present, much less renewing.
Does the NRA hate Washington State?
It certainly feels that way. I have heard through the rumor mill that the NRA has a serious dislike for Gottlieb and they view this as a “let’s screw Gottlieb” moment. The catch is they’re screwing over every gun owner in the state of Washington over petty personal politics.
No one has been able to figure out why the NRA hasn’t endorsed I-591, it’s only a page long and so simple even a child can understand it.
If the NRA feels that 594 is too likely to pass so why bother investing in the fight, why not then endorse 591 to give the best possibilities in a legal challenge? Preventing a total victory for our opponents.
There is, as with any battle, a list of tactical consequences that come with defeat and it is no different in this political fight. There are implications both nationally and locally.
First, despite the NRA seeming to think they do not have a dog in this fight, should 594 pass and 591 fail, MAIG, Every-town, and every other wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg Inc. will declare this a victory over the NRA. The NRA has been portrayed to be the big evil nasty villain that is impossible to conquer. This fight, the opposition may do exactly that. That gives the opposition momentum. Momentum creates opportunity and allows for more losses.
Which brings us to similar types of initiatives being brought forward in Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere shortly there after should they win.
And then the local fallout. Expect to see attempts for a semi-auto and magazine ban in the state of Washington most likely in 2016 when there is also a presidential and gubernatorial election and the Peoples Republic of Puget Sound will be out in full voting fury.
There is no doubt this fight is a big deal. A bigger deal than most people realize. Implications are reaching far and wide and it seems that the largest most effective group with the largest reach is sleeping at the wheel.
We have a fight on our hands, if you’re a gun owner in the state of Washington, be sure to educate your friends and family about I-594 and I-591, the implications and facts behind them. If you’d like to volunteer in some way hit up this contact form. If you’d like to donate to Protect Our Gun Rights, go here.
And I will say it again, “Where the F*** is the NRA?” Feel free to ask that the next time they call asking for money.
*It should be noted that my main complaint here is that the NRA is more than happy to take my money but then is no where to be found when things actually go sideways. While some would say, “quit complaining and do it yourself,” well that’s exactly what I am [email protected]#$ing doing. As such I’ll be taking my money with me, cause obviously I need it for the fight they’re not willing to take on.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.