The big bucks campaign in Maine to pass a ballot initiative requiring so-called “universal background checks” is being largely financed by a handful of wealthy elitists, and their campaign war chest is many times larger than the sum raised by gun rights advocates, the Washington Times has reported.
It’s a carbon copy of the campaign in 2014 at the far end of the country. Billionaire-backed gun prohibitionists passed initiative 594 that year in Washington State, and the cast of characters then, as now, includes anti-gun former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Second Amendment activists contend that the gun prohibition lobby has “discovered” that money is a powerful weapon in their arsenal. It puts the lie to complaints from gun control groups that the “gun lobby” overpowers the public will with money. That shoe is definitely on the other foot these days.
According to the newspaper, Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership (in Washington they call themselves the Alliance for Gun Responsibility) has raised $2.3 million. Of that, Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety has contributed the lion’s share at $1.7 million.
According to the Washington Times:
Campaign finance records show that Maine Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, which is affiliated with the billionaire former New York mayor’s group, donated about $433,000 to the gun ownership organization when it dissolved this year.”
“Other top donations came from Washington resident and venture capitalist Nicholas Hanauer — who gave $125,000 and is donating large sums to gun safety ballot measures in other states this year — and Maine resident and author Stephen King, who has given $25,000.”
“Before it dissolved, the Moms group was almost exclusively funded by Everytown. Of the $1.4 million collected since its August 2015 formation, $1.3 million came directly from Everytown.”
“Meanwhile, three opposition groups — including the National Rifle Association — have collected just under $45,000, according to the latest campaign finance records available.”
Hanauer was one of the driving financial forces behind the Washington gun control effort two years ago, and this year, his group is pushing another measure, Initiative 1491. This one pushes emergency protection order disarmament, and is being challenged by people concerned about due process.
In 2014, most of the money raised to pass the background check initiative came from about a dozen zip codes in and around the Seattle area.