I think this Maryland activist’s heart is in the right place, but I don’t agree with using referendum to try to overturn gun control laws. While, generally speaking, gun bans have never fared well in ballot referendums, they are a hugely expensive undertaking if you want to have a prayer of winning. Why? Because you have to reach a lot of low-information voters who barely pay attention to your issue, and may not understand it. There’s also very very dire consequences to losing. I cannot stress enough how dire the consequences would be to losing a ballot measure on O’Malley’s gun control package. And losing is a possibility. Why?
Because it comes down to spending. That’s it. Grassroots mobilization is certainly important in a ballot fight, but it’s the money that’s going to get you to a majority for the win. In a battle of our grassroots energy against Bloomberg’s billions, I’ll put my money on our grassroots any day of the week. In a cash fight for low information votes? It’ll be NRA’s money against Bloomberg’s money, and if Bloomberg wants to, he can outspend NRA. So I’m a little amused and more than a little annoyed to see that GOA is getting behind and effort to spend NRA’s money in a ballot fight we could end up losing because we’re up against a billionaire who can outspend us if he wants to. Do you feel confident you can beat a ballot measure with Bloomberg filling the airwaves with images of schoolchildren getting mowed down with automatic weapons? Oh, I know it’s a lie, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what works, and who has the money to lie the loudest.
NRA is correct in this matter. The courts is the far safer course of action. Those of you who are regular readers know how little faith I have in the courts, so that gives you an idea of how reckless I think our side volunteering for ballot fights is.