Actress jane Fonda, shown here in an appearance on the Graham Norton show, campaigned in Seattle Tuesday for anti-gun Initiative 1639. (Screen snip, YouTube)
Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda was in Seattle Tuesday campaigning for Initiative 1639, the multi-faceted 30-page gun control measure that has ignited Washington’s grassroots gun owners, but will the appearance backfire by also arousing old fury among veterans?
Fonda traveled to Hanoi during the Vietnam War, and legions of military veterans from that era who remember the incident with revulsion now reside in Washington. She may be a darling with Seattle’s political Left, but conservatives harbor a visceral dislike, and that might be enough to compel them to vote against a single ballot issue she just supported.
According to veteran political writer Joel Connelly at the Seattle P-I.com, Fonda told an audience in the University District of Seattle, “This is the most important election in my lifetime and that is saying something.”
Will that remark inspire gun owners from across the nation to start pouring donations into the anti-1639 campaign war chests? There is the National Rifle Association’s effort, which has so far raised more than $160,000 and the comparatively paltry grassroots SaveOurSecurity campaign, which now is approaching the $20,000 mark.
That pales by comparison to the $4.3 million so far raised by the Safe Schools/Safe Communities group sponsoring the initiative pushed by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the bulk of which came from seven wealthy individuals plus the Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation.
But grassroots activism is a funny thing, and one can never predict what might light the proverbial fuse. Maybe it is raising the minimum age limit to buy a rifle, or maybe it’s the way the initiative language defines all semiautomatic rifles as “semiautomatic assault rifles,” even models such as the Browning SA-22, Marlin Model 60 and Ruger 10/22, all .22-caliber rimfire rifles used for hunting small game, or recreational target shooting.
There is something in the background that could actually make a difference with many voters. It’s a story out of Spanaway in Pierce County involving a 16-year-old girl, the suspect in a domestic violence call and a .22-caliber pistol.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the teen and her mother had gone across the street to check on the welfare of a neighbor, who was having trouble with an ex-boyfriend. When the teen returned home, she found the power turned off, and according to the published report, “She armed herself with a .22-caliber pistol.” She quickly was confronted by the suspect, armed with a knife, who allegedly tried to slash her and also allegedly threatened to kill her.
Now, the initiative proponents want all guns locked up—the so-called “secure storage” tenet of the measure—especially so teenagers can access them. So, by having access to that handgun, if I-1639 had been in force, critics of the measure argue that she and/or her mother might be in trouble legally.
The teen did fire a shot at the suspect, who was apprehended a short time later. He reportedly was carrying a knife, pellet gun and 35 rounds of 9mm ammunition, the newspaper said, quoting a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Those on the political left campaign for women’s rights. What about a young woman’s right of self-defense, in her own home, with a firearm if necessary?
Initiative backers might have a difficult time reconciling this, while grassroots rights activists long ago seem to have figured it out, which is why they oppose I-1639. They are waging a “resistance” effort against wealthy elitists, a state Supreme Court that allowed the initiative on the ballot despite problems with state election requirements, and a state attorney general who, instead of enforcing the law endorsed the gun control measure.
Gun owner activists feel they are being pushed into a very tight corner. Fonda’s Tuesday appearance may bring reinforcements from military vets who may, or may not, own firearms but suddenly have a reason to be furious, and sometimes against seemingly overwhelming odds, fury makes the difference.