WA Grassroots Rights Activists Labor to Pull Upset

Against long and well-financed odds, Evergreen State pro-rights activists have been showing up at a series of events, including phone bank gatherings and workshops in an effort to get out the vote and put a stop to Initiative 1639, the 30-page gun control measure now being viewed by gun owners nationwide as a cancerous tumor in the Pacific Northwest.

Posters like this are being created by pro-rights Second Amendment activists to fight Initiative 1639 in Washington State. (Dave Workman)

If it passes, noted nationally-syndicated radio talk host Mark Walters at Armed American Radio, it could spread like a cancer.

At this past weekend’s record-setting 33rd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago, Second Amendment advocates from across the country all seemed to have their eyes focused on Washington. About 800 people attended the weekend event, or parts of it, according to Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Representatives from Florida Carry, activists from Illinois, and the more than 115,000 people who viewed all or parts of the conference as it was being live-streamed heard plenty about I-1639, the billionaire-backed effort to turn all semiautomatic rifles into “semiautomatic assault rifles” by popular vote, and that includes such commonly-owned .22-caliber rifles as the Ruger 10/22. Various Marlin models, Remingtons and Brownings would be included in the definition, which appears at the bottom of Page 27 of the initiative:

“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”

If passed, it would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-auto rifle from 18 to 21. It would require annual background checks on owners. It would require proof of safety training. “Semiautomatic assault rifle” buyers would have to sign away their medical privacy.

Also mandated is “secure storage,” which means guns must be locked up and unloaded, in one’s home, ostensibly to prevent them from being stolen and used in a crime. There’s also a $25 fee to cover the paperwork expenses of dealers to conduct the so-called “enhanced background check” requirement, which opponents of the measure call a hidden tax on the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right.

All this was detailed to an audience of more than 40 volunteers Monday evening at the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club, one of several such events that have been happening around the state. They appear to be working to energize the traditionally lethargic “gun voter” who didn’t turn out in 2014 and allowed anti-rights Initiative 594 to pass. This time around, perhaps reminded of that failure to act, the pro-rights groups are getting busy.

They have a daunting task. While they are blanketing the state with yard signs, posters, bumper stickers and handouts, and conducting the phone bank efforts, they are expecting the well-financed Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby to launch an expensive television and radio ad campaign in October.

Included in the workshops are these events:

Bellevue and Lacey phone banks Wednesday evening, 6-9 p.m., and Olympia and Pierce County neighborhood canvassing efforts Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

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For these pro-rights activists, this has turned into a resistance movement, and they are reminded that this is just how the nation was founded, by a somewhat ragtag, sparsely funded effort against the richest and most powerful army in the world at the time.