Evergreen State gun rights activists are stunned at what appears to be hypocrisy of anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, which sent out a pair of emails in recent days, one complaining about the National Rifle Association’s ability to raise $1 million in June, and the other reminding recipients about the $60 million it plans to spend to help elect “gun sense candidates.”
This comes on the heels of a July 23 press release about a “spate of shootings in Seattle (that) left three people dead and five more wounded in less than 48 hours.”
In that release, Everytown states, “These shootings are a reminder of the persistent gun violence that continues to impact the greater area of Seattle amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
What Everytown isn’t acknowledging in its campaign to add more restrictions to the gun rights of Washington citizens is its multi-million-dollar support for gun control efforts that have already proven—by the group’s own press release acknowledgement—absolute failures to prevent the violent crime they promised to prevent during the campaigns in 2014 and 2018.
Liberty Park Press and TheGunMag.com investigated Everytown expenditures to support anti-gun Initiatives 594 (“universal background checks”) and 1639 (regulation of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles”). Both measures were opposed by gun rights organizations and grassroots activists who were outspent by the billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobby.
According to records maintained by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, in 2014, the Everytown Action Fund contributed a whopping $2.31 million to the $10.4 million campaign, roughly 20 percent of the total war chest. Everytown founder Bloomberg kicked in another $285,000 from his own wallet. Separately, Everytown reported another expenditure of $968,906.11.
I-594, mandating background checks on virtually every firearm transfer—with narrow exceptions for immediate family members—was supposed to keep guns out of the “wrong hands.” Yet it did not prevent the tragedies at Mukilteo or Burlington’s Cascade Mall in 2016. One of the perpetrators passed a background check because he had no criminal history. The other took a gun from his stepfather’s home, skirting the background check.
Critics to this day believe it was also aimed at severely crippling gun shows like those sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors, and private groups in Tacoma, Spokane and Centralia.
Four years later, Everytown was busy again, contributing $450,000 cash to the I-1639 effort, and making a $59,500 “in kind” contribution. This initiative, which is being challenged in federal court, stripped young adults of their Second Amendment right to purchase and own any kind of semi-auto rifle, while requiring proof of safety training within the previous five years for any adult wanting to purchase a self-loading long gun.
The measure also invented a definition of the “semiautomatic assault rifle”—a firearm that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said doesn’t actually exist—that literally applies to every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured, including .22-caliber rifles used for hunting, recreational shooting and youth training and competition.
Yet, Everytown’s press release complains, “On average, more than 750 Washingtonians die by guns each year, including 175 people who are killed in gun homicides. Between 2014 and 2018, King County, where Seattle is located, had more than 820 gun deaths.” The overwhelming majority of these gun-related fatalities are suicides, and over the past few years, the firearms community has championed suicide prevention efforts, for which gun owners rarely receive any recognition.
According to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, in 2015 there were 141 gun-related homicides in Washington, and in 2016, there were 127 such killings. In 2017, the state reported 134 gun-related homicides and in 2018—the most recent year for which FBI data is available, there were 138 slayings with firearms. It’s not clear where Everytown gets its data, but none of those figures approaches 175 deaths.
Also not mentioned by Everytown is the fact that the entire state’s gun-related homicides pale in comparison to those racked up in Chicago or Baltimore or Washington, D.C., all three cities with even more restrictive gun control laws than Everytown has helped foist upon Evergreen State gun owners.