An ambitious grassroots effort to repeal a gun control initiative passed by Washington State voters in 2018 allegedly turned ugly over the weekend when one of the highest profile volunteer signature gatherers was apparently the victim of verbal attacks by two different men outside a major sporting goods outlet, when both of them made remarks that could be interpreted as threats.
Jane Milhans, a veteran rights activist, certified firearms instructor and president of the Tacoma Rifle & Revolver Club—who also is a home invasion survivor—told liberty Park Press one of the men actually asked her, “Do you want me to shoot your now, or later?”
According to Milhans, when two other volunteers confronted the man a few minutes later, he apparently denied making the statement and drove away.
Apparently the police were not called.
The other man allegedly said he wanted to ban all guns, and when Milhans explained her survival of the home invasion and then asked if he would rather she had been killed, the response was affirmative “because it will save kids’ lives if we ban all guns.”
Milhans was so stunned by those encounters that she quickly posted a report at Facebook.
In a telephone interview, she noted that she has been collecting signatures on Initiative 1094 for a few weeks, but this was the first time anyone had made an issue, and it happened twice on the same day, within a short time frame. There are a couple of hundred spots where petitions may be signed. A complete listing may be found here. According to activists working on signature gathering, I-1094 will put control “back in the hands of the people.” Their website asserts I-1639 is “blatantly unconstitutional.” It is currently being challenged in federal court by a lawsuit supported by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
Initiative 1639 was passed last year to add several restrictions on the purchase and possession of semiautomatic modern sporting rifles. The measure invented a definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle” that literally applies to every self-loading rifle ever manufactured. It prohibits the purchase and possession of such firearms by anyone under age 21 and adds a 10-day waiting period and training requirement. The measure also invented a new crime called “community endangerment.”
The gun control measure was supported by the billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.
The weekend saw a massive push to gather signatures before the Dec. 28 deadline. Anecdotal reports on social media suggest the volunteer army was able to gather several thousand signatures across the state.
If the measure qualifies, it will go to the Legislature next month for consideration. Lawmakers may act on it, or come up with their own measure and put both on the ballot in November 2020. If it does qualify, this campaign will have made history for collecting the required signatures in a very short time frame, without the services of paid signature gatherers.
It will also send a clear signal that Evergreen State gun owners are fed up with restrictive, discriminatory gun control disguised as “gun safety.”
Underscoring that, the Moms Demand Action group just sent an email blast announcing their legislative plans for 2020. The email said, “This year, we’ll be fighting for public safety by advocating for two primary policies: requiring training for anyone obtaining a concealed pistol license and the funding of community-based violence intervention programs that can help prevent homicides and non-fatal shootings. These are two common-sense measures that can help put an end to daily gun violence.”
This will be seen as an effort to discourage application for and renewal of concealed pistol licenses. There are more than 645,000 active CPLs in Washington State, where the state constitution clearly recognizes the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state. That right shall not be impaired, the state constitution says.
The Mom’s group is planning a legislative action day Jan. 29 in Olympia.