Billionaires Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and co-founder of Microsoft, and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer have each donated a million dollars to a Seattle-based gun prohibition lobbying group to finance its latest gun control initiative campaign, and rights activists are reacting.
The money will support the Initiative 1639 campaign, sponsored by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. According to the Seattle Times, the Alliance has “a stable of well-heeled Washington residents.” They also helped bankroll Initiative 594 back in 2014. That was the measure mandating so-called “universal background checks” ostensibly to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
However, 18 months after it took effect, a teen that passed a background check killed three other people at a Mukilteo party in the summer of 2016. A few months after that, another teen skirted the law by taking a rifle from his step-father and killing five people at a Burlington mall.
The Times alludes to the anti-gun group as “gun-regulation advocates.” KING’s story on the contributions refers to the measure as a “gun reform initiative.”
Allen, in a Monday tweet, said, “Initiative 1639 is a reasonable and necessary measure that will improve the safety of our schools and our communities, which is why I have contributed a million dollars to the campaign.”
While Allen is getting support for his donation via his Twitter account, Second Amendment rights activists are taking a far different tack, perhaps exemplified by this comment from one furious gun owner: “His team can’t stand for the National Anthem and he donates to infringe upon our rights?”
The initiative ballot title is facing four different challenges. Two were filed by individuals, including one that is being supported by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. A third challenge came from the National Rifle Association, and a fourth came from a legal group.
In order for the initiative to get on the November ballot, it needs to collect 259,622 valid signatures by July 6, and depending upon how long the ballot title challenge process takes, that may not allow much time to gather those signatures.
But with an additional $2 million in their campaign war chest, the Alliance might be able to hire professional signature gatherers.
I-1639 will raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-auto rifles to 21, and require so-called “enhanced background checks” and a ten-day waiting period. It will also require “safe storage” with felony-level penalties spelled out. These restrictions are in reaction to the February school shooting in Florida, and on Monday – as reported by Liberty Park Press – CCRKBA’s Alan Gottlieb challenged gun prohibition lobbying groups, asking when they will “blame the murderers.”
“Time after time,” he said in a news release, “with endless fund raising appeals and inflammatory rhetoric, we’ve seen these anti-rights lobbying groups immediately try to shift blame to the NRA, or the Second Amendment, or the firearms industry, or some mythical loophole in the law. But they never seem to point their fingers at the culprit, and we think it’s time for the American public to ask why?”
Allen, Hanauer and other billionaires, including Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates and Steve Ballmer all heavily supported I-594 four years ago.