Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

There’s Nothing Grassroots About Bloomberg-backed Gun Control

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

There’s Nothing Grassroots About Bloomberg-backed Gun Control

By now you know the media narrative: young Americans are uniformly working together on “grassroots” anti-gun activism in an attempt to unseat pro-gun elected officials across the country at all levels of government.

The danger facing gun owners is very real. Without an historic effort from pro-gun voters, gun control will be on the agenda throughout the country come January. But the threat doesn’t come from a grassroots movement, it comes from a cadre of wealthy elites intent on eliminating your fundamental rights.

Contrary to anti-gun messaging, young Americans aren’t uniformly anti-gun. An Ipsos/USA Today poll conducted a month after the shooting in Parkland, Fla. found that when asked “[s]hould semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 be banned in the United States?” a mere 44-percent of those aged 18 to 24 answered “yes.”

But that same month, the news networks promoted the purportedly youth-driven March for Our Lives gun control rally in Washington, D.C. Research conducted by University of Maryland Sociology Professor Dana R. Fisher found that “[o]nly about 10 percent of the participants were under 18,” and that the average age of the adults at the rally was 49. At what was ostensibly a gun control protest, only 12-percent of first-time protestors cited gun control as their motivation for marching.

This calls into question the “grassroots” character of ongoing anti-gun efforts. However, nothing eviscerates the grassroots gun control movement myth quite like following the money behind it, and no better case study exists than Washington State.

In 2014, Washingtonians passed Initiative 594. Advertised as requiring background checks on all gun sales, in fact, I-594 criminalized even routine and temporary private firearms transfers.

The chief organizational backers of I-594 were the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594 and the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR). Everytown is a front group for billionaire gun control financier Michael Bloomberg.

According to data from Washington’s Public Disclosure commission, Everytown’s I-594 fund spent nearly $1 million to back the initiative. WAGR spent nearly $10.5 million on the measure.

Apparently unable to recruit the requisite volunteers to get the I-594 on the ballot, WAGR paid $650,000 for professional signature gathering and verification. More than $7 million of the money raised for WAGR’s efforts came from Everytown and eight wealthy individuals. Bloomberg and Everytown accounted for nearly $2.6 million in cash and in kind contributions. Billionaire venture capitalist Nicolas Hanauer gave more than $1.3 million. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda provided $525,000 each, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and wife Connie gave $500,000 and $580,000 respectively, and company co-founder Paul Allen added $500,000.

Having succeeded in 2014, and in 2016 with I-1491, WAGR and many of their billionaire bankrollers are back for more. This election year the anti-gun magnates are pushing the omnibus I-1639.

I-1639 would prohibit the sale of semiautomatic rifles to adults aged 18 to 20. The measure categorizes all semiautomatic rifles (even rimfire) as “semi-automatic assault rifle[s]” and imposes a training requirement on prospective purchasers. I-1639 would also impose a $25 tax on semiautomatic rifles and create mandatory storage requirements for all gun owners.

Speaking to Seattle’s KING-TV about the initiative in May, WAGR CEO Renee Thompson explained that young activists had “changed the energy” around the gun issue. Did this mean that Washington’s anti-gun billionaires could save their greenbacks for a second yacht? Surely, just a handful of the intrepid young adults and others motivated by the young anti-gun activists the press keep touting would provide ample volunteer manpower to get I-1639 on the ballot and across the finish line in November.

Think again.

As of early September, I-1639 backers had raised $4.3 million for the campaign, with $3.7 million coming from only 5 individuals and Bloomberg’s Everytown. This year Allen led the pack with $1.2 million, followed by Hanauer and wife Leslie who each provided just over $600,000. The Ballmers donated $1 million and Everytown came in with $250,000.

Despite the purported change in “energy,” I-1639 supporters paid more than $3.7 million to a professional signature gathering firm. Even after paying this exorbitant sum, I-1639 was nearly kept off the ballot.

In August, Superior Court Judge James Dixon blocked I-1639 from appearing on the ballot, citing severe defects in the paid signature gathering process. Washington law requires that signature petitions contain “a readable, full, true, and correct copy of the proposed measure printed on the reverse side of the petition,” so that signees know what they are supporting. The copy of the 30-page initiative on the forms used by the paid signature gatherers was crammed into a single page of unreadable small print and did not include underlining or strikethroughs that would indicate the changes to current law. Despite their underhanded tactics, I-1639’s backers were bailed out when the Washington State Supreme Court overruled Judge Dixon.

Billionaire financiers, millions paid to signature gatherers and unscrupulous tactics aren’t most Americans’ idea of grassroots civic engagement. On the other hand, NRA’s nearly six million members represent the most proven and powerful grassroots force in American politics. Through a membership armed with the facts and our efforts to inform others, we can leverage our authentic grassroots support to expose the true forces behind gun control and dispel the media-peddled fantasies that grant our opponents an undeserved legitimacy.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

Yesterday, we reported that it was likely that sweeping gun control measures would be proposed in Pittsburgh. Today, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute ...

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor and billionaire patron of the Nanny State, may be gearing up for the presidential race in 2020. He gave the idea of running as an independent candidate “serious consideration” in ...

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Friday, December 14, 2018

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice released the first in a series of regulatory proposals regarding the mandatory background check process when purchasing ammunition, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2019.

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

The NRA has received copies of what are reported to be draft ordinances being considered by the Pittsburgh City Council to enact sweeping gun control measures within the city.

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

Speaking in Montreal this month on the anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique tragedy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed his government’s plans to further restrict legal access to handguns and “assault weapons” and refused to rule ...

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

We hear a lot about “fake news.” We regularly see data miscoded and statistics misused. What we have seen several times over the last several months does not really fit any of those categories.

Guns and Taxes

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guns and Taxes

David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. He has repeatedly broached the idea, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a ...

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second ...

New Jersey: Third Circuit Court Refuses to Stop Unconstitutional Magazine Ban

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Jersey: Third Circuit Court Refuses to Stop Unconstitutional Magazine Ban

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowed an unconstitutional magazine ban to proceed with its December 10th deadline by a 2-1 decision.

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

Friday, December 7, 2018

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

On December 5th, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group backed by out-of-state elites, announced it will pursue its most extreme anti-gun legislative agenda to date during the upcoming 2019 Washington Legislative Session.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.