Members of the Montana Chapter of Moms Demand Action are being recruited for a telephone blitz of Washington voters this evening to promote Initiative 594 on the heels of an e-mail yesterday from the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) that alleges the “gun lobby” has “so much power that they’ve gotten your sheriff to spread their lies about Initiative 594 to voters.”
It’s the latest, but certainly not the final attempt by supporters of the 18-page gun control measure to downplay and even discredit the overwhelming law enforcement opposition to their billionaire-backed initiative. It may also be designed to distract public attention away from the disturbing remark last Friday by I-594 money man Nick Hanauer that sarcastically tried to exploit the tragedy at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, covered today by Reuters, against rival Initiative 591.
The I-591 campaign is alerting voters about this new attack on sheriffs in 27 of Washington’s 39 counties. Because these elected lawmen have stepped forward to oppose I-594, WAGR is essentially calling them liars. They’re even asking voters to send messages to “remind your sheriff that 594 will reduce crime and save lives by helping to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and felons.”
Not only have more than two-thirds of Evergreen State county sheriffs rejected I-594, but so has the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) and the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS). The I-594 campaign, largely bankrolled by wealthy Seattle-area elites and a handful of billionaires including Hanauer, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen, has carefully avoided talking much about this.
I-594 backers seem to dodge uncomfortable questions in more ways than one. During an interview with nationally-syndicated talk host Lars Larson, based down in Portland (he’s a Vancouver-area resident), WAGR spokesman Geoff Potter would not give a direct “Yes” or “No” answer to a simple question: “Would 594 have changed Marysville last Friday?”
One wonders how anti-gun Moms in Montana have been advised to respond to such questions during their telephone calls from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this evening. The recruitment message states, “We’re calling people to ask that they vote YES for I-594 which would require expanded background checks on gun sales,” which is misleading. I-594 actually requires background checks on all firearm transfers, including loans and gifts, with but a few exceptions for immediate family members.
The election is next Tuesday, but mail-in ballots are already being filled out as the effort intensifies to sway the vote. With the financial advantage heavily favoring the gun control crowd, which has out-spent the I-591 campaign about ten-to-one, it could be a very long weekend. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday.