With just over six weeks remaining until the November election when the fates of dueling Initiatives 591 and 594 will be decided by Evergreen State voters, the grassroots is shifting into high gear, with a trio of workshops sponsored by the National Rifle Association announced today and a voting pledge drive by Protect Our Gun Rights (POGR) that has just been launched.
The POGR site features an image of an upcoming advertisement that can be downloaded emphasizing rank-and-file law enforcement support for I-591. Two major groups, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association have also announced their opposition to I-594, the 18-page gun control measure backed by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. WAGR has raised more than $7 million, while POGR has raised about $1.3 million, putting the lie to its own early funding appeals that portrayed the “gun lobby” as the big money player in this contest.
WAGR has some slick television advertisements, and their yard signs began showing up over the weekend. POGR has word-of-mouth activism and a growing resistance to what gun rights activists see as an invasive, confusing measure designed to entrap and penalize gun owners.
The NRA workshops are scheduled this Saturday, Sept. 27 10:30 a.m. – noon at the Lakewood Elks Lodge; next Monday, Sept. 29 at the Spokane VFW Post 51, 7-8:30 p.m. and next Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Hal Holmes Center in Ellensburg, also 7-8:30 p.m. This information has now been posted on both the Northwest Firearms and Seattle Guns forums, and will soon appear on other gun rights websites. The workshops are free.
At the POGR website, one will find artwork that can be downloaded and reproduced that depicts a police officer noting that I-591 is “The only initiative endorsed by law enforcement organizations.” I-591 is the simple one page measure that prohibits government gun confiscation without due process, and, according to POGR literature, “protects background check uniformity and prevents unwarranted intrusion by the state into temporary firearm loans to friends or in-laws.”
The NRA describes I-594 as a “universal handgun registration scheme being bankrolled and promoted by a very wealthy group of anti-gun elitists.” POGR’s website notes that I-591 “is supported by a diverse bipartisan coalition of law enforcement professionals, collectors, competitors, and sportsmen and women who believe that nobody’s privacy should be for sale to the gun prohibition lobby.”
Gun owners have a daunting, uphill battle ahead. They realize they’re up against a well-financed anti-gun-rights juggernaut that has been dominating the airwaves, on what many now believe is a practice run for mounting similar campaigns in several other states next year and in 2016.
Tomorrow is Voter Registration Day. It is important enough for the anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety $50 million gun control lobbying group to have sent out an e-mail today over the name of Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, to remind everyone to register. But it’s also going to encourage gun owners to be sure they’re registered as well.
POGR also sent out an e-mail this afternoon, with a link to an Op-Ed by Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, that discusses the dueling initiatives. That piece ran over the weekend in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.