Friday’s decision by the Washington State Supreme Court to allow anti-rights Initiative 1639 on the November ballot – overturning the ruling by Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon that the measure be disqualified because it failed to meet state requirements – appears to have been the proverbial “wake up call” for Second Amendment activists, who now need to build and maintain momentum.
The Save Our Security effort, chaired by Phil Watson, is firing up as is the Washingtonians and the National Rifle Association for Freedom group. Social media was busy all weekend, and gun owners who recognize what is at stake have shaken off their lethargy and started sounding alarm bells. They are starting from a rear position because the gun prohibition lobby backing I-1639 has been busy for months.
The gun control crowd has raised more than $4 million, compared to the combined figure of $118,000 reported by both gun owner organizations. Lawsuits filed by Alan Gottlieb, a state resident and registered voter, and the NRA, raised issues with the initiative that the state high court ignored, according to gun activists.
Earlier this month, the hypocrisy of the Seattle-based anti-rights groups backing the initiative was called to question when they declared outrage that the NRA had contributed $100,000 to fight their own billionaire-backed initiative effort.
I-1639 grassroots opponents will be running a phone bank this Wednesday at I-5 Guns and Ammo in Lacey, 5-8 p.m. Similar efforts are apparently in the works for other locations around the state to educate people about what is in this initiative. Incredibly, some people entering conversations on social media over the weekend confessed ignorance of the initiative.
Here are just some of the concerns activists have:
- I-1639 would strip 18-20-year-olds—who can vote, enter the military and even get married and start families—from purchasing or owning a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle;
- The measure appears to classify even .22-caliber rimfire semi-auto rifles as “assault rifles” by this language, found on page 27 of the 30-page initiative:
“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge. ‘Semiautomatic assault rifle’ does not include antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action,” a definition that critics say includes popular sporting rifles such as the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60 and Browning SA-22.
- It mandates so-called “secure storage” of firearms;
- The measure requires the state Department of Licensing to keep records on all sales of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles,” which translates to a de facto registry;
- It creates a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles”;
- The initiative authorizes the Department of Licensing to require gun dealers to charge a fee of $25 to comply with the new requirements, which opponents call a tax on the exercise of a constitutional right.
Grassroots activists are scrambling to organize their opposition. Volunteers are being encouraged to contact the “No On Initiative 1639” via email at: email@example.com.
There will also be an information booth at the Washington State fair, Aug. 31-Sept. 23 (closed every Tuesday), according to one of the opposition organizers.
The challenge now will be to “Build the Backlash” over the Supreme Court’s decision to allow what gun activists argue is a horribly flawed initiative on the ballot, see if it passes, and only then consider a challenge. Grassroots activists have been stirred from summer slumber, and now they will work to maintain momentum into November.
They will be registering voters, reminding people to actually vote (rather than leave their mail-in ballots on the kitchen table), and contribute to the opposition campaign. Every gun owner in the state, every licensed hunter, everyone with a concealed pistol license will be asked to vote “No” on I-1639.