by Jeff Knox
(September 1, 2016) As the Presidential Election has captured the national spotlight, there are many other matters to be aware of prior to November 8. Congressional elections are particularly critical this year, as a shift in the Senate is a real possibility. That would mean that Chuck Schumer would become Majority Leader. Harry Reid was a moderate compared to Schumer. If the House changes hands, we would see Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House once more. Everyone should remember how well that worked. And then there are state elections, including 5 ballot measures dealing with firearm laws in Washington, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Maine.
In Washington State, where Mike Bloomberg and a clutch of billionaires spent over 10 million dollars to pass an initiative criminalizing private firearm transfers, the anti-rights crowd is again proving that they are never satisfied. They have come back this year to demand that authorities be given the ability to restrict legal access to firearms by people who the police or household family members feel might be a threat to themselves or others.
This is one of those dangerous measures that seems very reasonable on its surface, but is wholly unnecessary and holds great potential for abuse. The only way to prevent a person intent on doing harm from accessing the tools with which to do harm, is to put that person in a place where those tools are not available and they can be watched. You cannot bubble-wrap the world, but you can pad a cell and remove shoelaces. If a person is violent, threatening, mentally unstable, or otherwise a serious danger to themselves or others, they can be arrested, taken into protective custody, held in a mental facility for observation, or committed against their will indefinitely. If the person is not demonstrating behavior to justify those actions, they are not demonstrating behavior to justify revoking their right to arms. A person who is too dangerous to have a gun is too dangerous to be free on the streets.
In Colorado the initiative is calling for the criminalization of otherwise lawfully carried, concealed firearms on college campuses. Colorado does not ban legal firearm carry on campuses, and has never had a problem with someone legally carrying suddenly going berserk. At a time when more and more states are recognizing that a sign on a door does not make a space “gun-free,” but does often make a space self-defense-free, it is foolish to bypass the legislature to try and enact laws to disarm those who wish to protect themselves and might prevent or mitigate a tragedy.
The California initiative is being pushed hard by Leiutenant Governor and wann’a-be governor, Gavin Newsom. Most of the provisions of the initiative were passed by the legislature last session, so it is largely redundant, but Newsome is using it as a vehicle to promote his candidacy for governor. His initiative has some stronger, more harmful language, and it would be much more difficult for the legislature to amend.
So far proponents of the initiative – led by Newsom and several multi-millionaire friends – have outspent opponents at a rate of 9 to 1. Opponents have virtually every mainstream law enforcement organization in the state lined up in opposition to the initiative though, noting that it would make criminals out of people who pose no threat, would not stop real criminals and terrorists from acquiring guns and ammunition, and would waste tens of millions of dollars that could be much better spent on resources and programs that actually do reduce crime and save lives.
A coalition of rights groups is working hard to educate voters about the real dangers and flaws in this initiative, and to rally GunVoters to help defeat it. Whether their grass roots efforts will be enough to counter the money and media blitz of the initiative proponents will all depend on educated voters turning out in November.
Nevada and Maine:
Nevada and Maine have been targeted by Bloomberg groups with similar legislation to what was pushed through Washington a couple of years ago. They call it “Universal Background Checks,” but what it is in reality is criminalization of private firearm transfers, and the laying of groundwork for a universal firearm registration system.
The Bloombergers are painting these fights as being local “gun violence prevention” activists taking on the evil NRA, when in fact it is the Bloombergers who have come in with their massive out-of-state resources to overwhelm local, pro-rights, grass roots groups. Unfortunately the NRA is playing into the Bloomer’s script by putting themselves at the front of the public debate, rather than staying in the background and letting the locals be the face of the fight. In Washington State, NRA is the only opposition group listed on the ballot. In Nevada, rather than providing financial, strategic, and logistical support to the coalition of grass roots groups that had formed to fight the initiative, NRA came in and formed a whole new group – bypassing their own state affiliate – hired a PR firm, and is “leading the charge.”
My Dad used to say that it’s amazing how much can be accomplished if you’re not worried about who gets the credit. Too bad that wisdom didn’t stick at NRA, because they are all about getting all of the credit. We’re glad they’re there, we just wish they would be smarter about it.
The critical thing in all of these states is that GunVoters show up in droves on November 8 – dragging their families, friends, and neighbors along with them. Organize, rally, educate, and VOTE! Be sure that everyone you know understands that every vote matters and that these initiatives are dangerous and being promoted with lies financed by Bloomberg’s billions. We don’t have to convince people that background checks and magazine restrictions are a bad idea, just that these proposals are the wrong way to get there.
Stop Bloomberg. Stop Newsom. Stop low-information voters from selling your rights.