“A state can be an example, or a warning,” noted a New Jersey attorney and gun rights leader who made it to Chicago yesterday for the Gun Rights Policy Conference, despite the continuing problems at O’Hare International Airport, which prevented several scheduled speakers from arriving for the 29th annual event.
The remark, from Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), could be applied to Washington as well as the Garden State, where harsh gun control laws have turned many gun owners into criminals. Bach, who is also a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors, posed the question about the state’s lawmakers: “What were they thinking?”
And he quickly provided the answer: “I’ll tell you. (They’re) not going to stop until (they) take them all away.” The mantra, he suggested, among New Jersey anti-gun legislators seems to be “confiscate, confiscate, confiscate.”
Bach was among dozens of speakers who did make it to the conference after a man identified as 36-year-old Brian Howard set a fire in a telecommunications building and then attempted suicide. The fire shut down O’Hare, leaving many people stuck at distant airports. Some people managed to make it by long-distance driving, riding trains and catching flights to other airports, renting cars there and making it to the Windy City.
The Seattle Times is covering the travel fiasco, as many flights to and from Chicago, which is a major airlines hub, have been cancelled or delayed. Times readers are also weighing in on the problem.
A long night of re-arranging the agenda by Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Operations Director Julianne Versnel kept the program flowing Saturday. The audience, despite the travel problems, still nearly filled the room. The conference wraps up today.
Bach’s cautionary remarks about New Jersey carry a special meaning for many from the Pacific Northwest, and there are a lot of people here watching the dueling initiative situation in Washington. They understand that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s lobbying group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is using the Evergreen State as something of a test run to see how to conduct similar campaigns in other states.
Everytown has dumped $1 million into the Initiative 594 campaign. I-594, pushed by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility — another billionaire-funded organization supported by Seattle-area elites including Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer and Nick Hanauer — is an 18-page gun control measure that pushes so-called “universal background checks.” Many attending the conference consider this a first move toward “universal” gun registration.
What is happening in Washington is a warning to other states where similar efforts can be launched. There’s already a petition circulating in Nevada, and both Oregon and Arizona appear to be on the radar screen.
While New Jersey is being turned into a nightmare environment for gun owners, speakers from other states had success stories. Illinois, where SAF court cases have expanded the Second Amendment to the states, and forced lawmakers to adopt a concealed carry law, is a prime example.
Attorney Alan Gura, winner of both the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, delivered a luncheon keynote report on legal actions. Calling SSF the “premier gun rights litigation organization,” he provided a rundown on gun rights litigation, and cases that the high court has declined to hear.
That’s why elections matter, including the upcoming mid-terms, cautioned Tom Gresham, master of ceremonies for the awards luncheon. A shift in power in the Senate could prevent President Barack Obama from adding another anti-gun justice to the Supreme Court, in the event of another vacancy before his term expires in January 2017.
This columnist was honored with SAF’s 2014 “Journalist of the Year” award. It was one of several awards handed out during the luncheon. National Gun Rights Examiner Dan, a past recipient of the Journalism award, was recognized as a “Defender of Liberty” award winner.