The reason why 594 passing is bad news for gun owners everywhere is because it validates Bloombergâ€™s strategy. This is a new kind of gun control game, theyâ€™re smarter than the Brady Campaign and they have functionally unlimited resources. Yes, they played it smart in Washington. They picked an issue thatâ€™s easy to misrepresent in universal background checks; they played that issue to a strong blue voter base, and then they spent a ton of money on marketing and GOTV. Thatâ€™s textbook â€œWinning Ballot Questions 101â€³ and itâ€™s really hard to fight against.
I think Caleb has it right. The reason states with the ballot need to worry is because ballot fights almost always come down to money, and Bloomberg and his other billionaire asshole friends can afford to outspend us in state after state. The amounts involved are big money for us and pocket change for him and his buddies.
It’s mostly the western states that have the ballot. Pennsylvania does not have it, except for Constitutional Amendment, and before that can happen, a measure must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature. I had hoped that we could get the margin narrow enough to Washington to tamp Bloomberg’s ambition in other states, but I don’t think that happened. This will be tried again, it’s only a matter of where.
This is likely why Alan Gottlieb was so eager to get a federal compromise on this issue. I can understand his desire to do that, even if I strong believe that Manchin-Toomey was the completely wrong thing to push. In the long run, the public largely supports the concept of background checks. Overwhelmingly so. We have to figure out a way to deal with that, and unfortunately, something that’s going to involve losing small over losing big.
So what can you do? The biggest issue is to educate gun owners. This is not about background checks. It’s about backdoor universal registration, and extinguishing the gun culture by eliminating the ability to even shoot with a friend and try each other’s firearms. The restrictions on transfer (not just change of title or sale) in the Washington initiative would essentially make it impossible to bring new shooters into the gun culture. Washington gun owners only hope now is that the authorities won’t actively go after marginal cases. But now, as gun owners, you’ll constantly be at the mercy of prosecutors and law enforcement any time you let someone else shoot your guns outside of the very narrowly defined exceptions.
Everytown for Gun Safety is gathering signatures for a similar initiative in Nevada, and future campaigns are being planned for Arizona and Maine, according to Feinblatt.
So what do we do other than do our best to educate?