With a sweeping anti-gun-rights initiative vote looming in Washington, that state’s liberal Democrat governor may have just added more momentum to the grassroots campaign to defeat the gun control measure by deciding he would no longer sign certificates for the winners in a police marksmanship competition because the program involves the National Rifle Association.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive director of communications sent letters to a citizen and a member at large of the Washington State Police Pistol Association explaining that Inslee has decided to no longer sign the “Governor’s 20” certificates because he “is no longer able to support any program affiliated with the National Rifle Association (NRA), due to the organization’s obstructive efforts to undermine common sense gun safety measures, including those that enjoy broad public support.”
Revelation of the letters, one dated in May and the other earlier this month, quickly lit up social media. So far as many gun rights activists are concerned, NRA has actually protected the right to keep and bear arms by standing in the way of Evergreen State gun prohibitionists and their extreme agenda.
Inslee has not been friendly to gun owners since his first stint in Congress, when he was thrown out after one term by voters in Washington’s Tri-City district because he supported the Clinton ban on so-called “assault weapons.” He has supported various gun control schemes ever since.
The “Governor’s 20” competition has absolutely nothing to do with gun rights politics, yet Inslee has politicized it. The competition is as much an event of skill as a golf tournament or tennis match, but because the NRA is associated with the program, Inslee has taken the low road, according to his critics in the firearms community.
Like it or not, this actually will play into the political fight currently brewing over Initiative 1639, the 30-page gun control measure that Washington voters will decide in November. Opponents of the initiative most likely will use Inslee’s swipe at the NRA in an attempt to demonstrate the pettiness of anti-gunners.
The initiative has energized a groundswell of grassroots opposition, especially since the Washington State Supreme Court overruled a lower court judge’s decision to disqualify the measure because the petitions did not meet the requirements of state election law.
Add to that the hypocrisy of proponents who have complained about the NRA contributing $150,000 to the “No On I-1639” campaign, while they have raised and spent more than $4 million to get the measure on the ballot and promote its passage. There was also one Twitter message ripping the NRA contribution as “out of state money,” while at the same time, the “Safe Schools/Safe Communities” committee backing the initiative has received $250,000 from the New York-based Everytown for Gun Safety.