Published reports that Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $1 million to the Initiative 594 gun control campaign in Washington State has fired up the grassroots gun rights activists who are now making it clear they are not about to be beaten by billionaires who have expensive security.
Gun rights activists are alarmed and furious over what they consider is a blatant effort by a handful of wealthy elitists to buy an election. I-594 is an 18-page gun control measure that is largely supported by big money residents of ten Seattle-area zip codes.
The measure being pushed by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which has raised more than $6 million. It would require background checks on all firearms transfers, not just sales, and the list of exemptions is narrowly tailored.
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In addition to Gates, other Microsoft alumni Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer have kicked in small fortunes. Gun rights activists are beginning to wonder why passing this measure is so important.
Several Northwest gun rights forums are now promoting small contributions to competing Initiative 591, backed by Protect Our Gun Rights. I-591, which has the support of two major state law enforcement groups and at least seven individual county sheriffs – an important point that I-594 proponents cannot claim – would require Washington State background checks to comply with a uniform national standard, while preventing government gun confiscations without due process.
Critics of I-594 contend that it will expand the state database on handguns to the point that it at least lays the groundwork for, if not actually amounting to, total state handgun registration.
Now there is a new wrinkle to the controversial “dueling initiatives” battle. Another tenet of I-594 is that it extends the waiting period on handgun sales for people who do not have concealed pistol licenses to ten days.
By interesting coincidence, Senior Judge Andrew W. Ishii of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, a Bill Clinton appointee, just ruled that state’s ten-day waiting period is unconstitutional “as applied to those individuals who successfully pass” the state’s background check prior to the ten days, and who are already in lawful possession of an additional firearm, and for individuals who pass the background check and who possess a valid CCW license.”
For more, read the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner.