There were television news cameras on hand for Olympia’s Saturday Second Amendment rally, but no television reporters, and the later newscasts ran far shorter than reports devoted to an anti-gun student protest in Seattle.
Print reporters for the Seattle Times, Daily Olympian, Liberty Park Press and TheGunMag.com were on hand, however.
Coupled with the student protest was the launch of yet another gun control initiative to regulate semi-automatic modern sporting rifle purchases by young adults by raising the age limit for purchase to 21. But there is another initiative campaign, a grassroots effort working feverishly to attract support in an attempt to make it legal for licensed concealed carry on school grounds.
Initiative 1621 is already gathering signatures – a bunch of them from some 2,500 pro-Second Amendment activists who gathered on the Washington State Capitol steps – to get a spot on the November ballot. Sponsor Tyler Miller was among the speakers Saturday, and he has been conducting a grassroots effort to do away with gun-free school zones in the Evergreen State.
His initiative would allow armed teachers who undergo firearms training and inform school administrators.
The big hurdle is gathering the signatures. Miller needs at least 259,000 signatures by July 6. Copies of the initiative petition may be found online here.
Monday morning via email, Miller told Liberty Park Press that he collected about 1,000 signatures, but he is still behind his goal. People can support his effort by visiting his website, here.
He is asking for donations to help pay for additional printing, and postage to mail additional copies of the petition. Unlike the well-financed Alliance, Miller is running his campaign on a shoestring, and while grassroots volunteers can gather signatures, his measure will not have the same momentum as the better-funded gun control initiative, and he knows that.
Was news coverage of Saturday’s rally abbreviated? Reporters were present at Friday’s student gun control rally, but has anyone interviewed any students on the other side of the issue? Whidbey Island teen Aryeh Rohde was at the Capitol, leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and then talking about the importance of gun rights. For that he received a huge applause.
Other teens from Pierce County schools were there. All had stories about their views being suppressed by teachers and administrators at their schools. Has anyone seen coverage of that by local news agencies?
At Saturday’s rally, at which a majority of attendants were clearly armed and only one person appeared as a counter-protester holding a sign that said “No More Guns,” nobody suffered so much as a scratch. All those guns, from AR15s to single-action revolvers, and not a single shot was fired.
In the wake of that big turnout, it is clear there are two sides to the gun issue. Activists in the firearms community simply want equal time and perhaps equal empathy.
For his part, Miller will be out there pounding the pavement along with any help he can muster, gathering signatures to place his initiative on the November ballot, where it will almost certain compete with the measure being pushed by the gun prohibition lobby. Their initiative seeks to raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-auto modern sporting rifles, following “enhanced background checks” and a waiting period.