Would-be gun grabbing Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke was in Newtown, Conn.—scene of the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook shooting—to talk about gun control, but he got an earful from a heckler in an incident indicative of how gun control is becoming the lightning rod political issue from one end of the country to the other.
While O’Rourke was being challenged in Connecticut, an effort to repeal a controversial gun control initiative, passed by 59 percent of Washington State voters last year, became an issue in the Longview city council election, to be held Nov. 5. A full-page advertisement appearing in the Longview Daily News earlier in the week promoting the repeal while featuring images of three council candidates has apparently lit some fuses in the lower Columbia River community, the newspaper indicated.
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The advertisement bears the message “Repeal I-1639. Defend your gun rights.” It pictured Longview Mayor Don Jensen and Councilmen Scott Vydra and Mike Wallin, who are being challenged, the newspaper explained.
The initiative was soundly rejected by Cowlitz County voters last year, while passing in heavily-liberal Puget Sound Basin counties. Sheriffs in 20 of Washington’s 39 counties have refused to enforce its provisions, and there is a vigorous grassroots effort to qualify Initiative 1094, which would repeal I-1639.
There is also a federal lawsuit against the measure in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association are supporting that lawsuit.
While that initiative drive is gathering steam—gun stores across the Evergreen State have petitions on their counters—O’Rourke’s effort to gin up his lagging campaign by visiting Newtown met with some push back, according to WTIC/Fox 61 News.
A woman identified as Rebecca Carnes gave O’Rourke an expletive-laced tongue lashing, declaring that the former Texas congressman was in Newtown to “hijack” the community “and to try to make an issue out of getting guns out of good peoples’ hands that can make a difference.”
She added, “This is bull—-, it’s about mental health and it’s about this war on boys and masculinity.”
As others tried to quiet Carnes, she kept moving and talking, and finally urged people to vote for President Donald Trump in 2020.
O’Rourke’s gun control extremism became a campaign issue two months ago when, during a candidates’ debate, he declared, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” The comment caused a considerable amount of Democrat teeth grinding, especially when none of the other candidates onstage said anything to reject O’Rourke’s threat.
Every other Democrat candidate has announced some level of gun control support, from bans and “buybacks,” which the firearms community has dubbed “compensated confiscation,” to licensing and registration.
Meanwhile, President Trump has backed away from earlier indications that he might support some new measures, but according to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the White House has indicated the focus will now be on mental health, not gun control.
Gottlieb and CCRKBA are based in Washington State, where he was a chief opponent of I-1639 last year. SAF, which is pursuing the federal lawsuit, is CCRKBA’s sister organization.
I-1094 needs 300,000 signatures by the end of December so it can be presented to the State Legislature in January. Grassroots Second Amendment activists are fired up, trying to gather 5,000 signatures a day between now and the deadline.
They not only face the daunting challenge of gathering the signatures without a budget or coordinating PAC to raise money, they also face a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobby that will undoubtedly throw truckloads of cash into the fight to protect their initiative, should I-1094 qualify.
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