UPDATED: Evergreen State Second Amendment activists are preparing for what they hope will be a massive gun rights rally Friday, Jan. 17 on the capitol steps in Olympia, and Dan Mitchell, proprietor at Sporting Systems and a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit challenging gun control Initiative 1639 is renting a tour bus to bring gun owners from his region to the event.
He thinks activists in other parts of the state could do likewise to make sure of a good turnout. The Legislature convenes Jan. 13, so this event will send a signal to lawmakers that gun owners are paying attention. Several speakers are scheduled, including some candidates for governor, some state lawmakers and an assortment of leading activists. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and it is followed by an effort by activists to visit their representatives.
The following Monday, anti-gunners will descend on Olympia to push for more restrictive gun control laws including:
- A ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson both support such a ban)
- A ban on so-called “high capacity magazines”
- Expand ‘gun-free zones’ to include parks and libraries
- A new training requirement for concealed pistol licenses
- Elimination of state preemption
- Requiring background checks to buy ammunition
- Require reporting of lost or stolen firearms to police within 48 hours
The full agenda may be viewed here. The billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility has spent millions of dollars to push three anti-rights measures starting with Initiative 594 in 2014 requiring “universal background checks” and more recently I-1639, which prohibits young adults from exercising their Second Amendment rights and invented a definition for a firearm that does not actually exist: the “semiautomatic assault rifle.” The definition is so broad that it applies to every self-loading rifle ever manufactured, regardless of caliber or configuration. I-1639 also mandates a “proof of training” requirement to purchase a semi-auto rifle, which critics say is tantamount to a “literacy test.”
BREAKING: An email blast from the Moms Demand Action group says they will be lobbying in Olympia on Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. No word yet whether Second Amendment activists plan to be in Olympia the same day to counter this effort and present the other side of the argument.
As noted recently in AmmoLand News, “Initiative 594, the ‘universal background check’ measure adopted in 2014, also does not appear to have reduced murders in the state.
“According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 2015 saw 209 homicides in Washington, including 141 involving firearms. The next year, 2016, saw a drop in murders overall (195) and those involving guns (127). But in 2017 and 2018, the numbers crept right back up to 228/134 and 232/138, respectively.”
The unspoken threat hanging over the heads of lawmakers is that if they don’t pass legislation, the Seattle-based Alliance will dig into its deep pockets and just run another initiative.
Mitchell told Liberty Park Press that 22 seats on the charter bus are already taken. The ride is free, but people have to sign up. It will pick up activists in Vancouver and Kelso, and bring them back.
The rally is sponsored by the Gun Rights Coalition, and this group has been busy on social media alerting gun owners with plenty of advance notice so they can plan to attend.
Tens of thousands of Washington residents signed Initiative 1094, aimed at repealing I-1639. That effort failed due primarily to lack of time and too much apathy from gun owners who seem to get incensed on Facebook but won’t even add their signatures to a petition. There may be a second attempt, giving sponsors more time to gather signatures.
There are more than 646,000 Washingtonians who have valid concealed pistol licenses. If even one percent of those people show up for the rally, it will be the largest turnout of Washington firearms owners in recent history.