As you’ve read in part one of our “West Coast Wall” series, the Wall is a series of freedom-eroding initiatives and laws a network of gun control groups are systematically building in Washington and Oregon.
Fortunately, they’ve boldly proclaimed their strategy, which is a state-by-state incremental implementation of their list of desired policies. The strategy was laid out in an August 2016 article about anti-gun initiatives in The Hill [emphasis added]:
Washington State provides an example of the progression gun control advocates hope to see. In 2014, Washington voters passed Initiative 594 to expand background checks. Versions of that initiative were exported to Nevada and Maine this year.
This year’s measure to limit access to firearms for people under protective orders, Initiative 1491, is modeled on legislation that has passed in states like California, Connecticut and Indiana. If it is successful, it too will be exported to other states.Stephanie Ervin, who is running the pro-1491 campaign, said she expected a similar measure to appear on the ballot in Oregon.
Michael Bloomberg is the evil genius (and the money) behind the strategy and its implementation. His statisticians and strategists hole up in Manhattan studying the makeup of legislatures, state demographics, and opinion trends on various gun control issues.
Politico noted his influence and non-traditional methods in a November 2016 piece:
Bloomberg backs a mix of Republican and Democrats, has become more focused on referenda and his operation is contained to a small team of advisers who’ve stayed in his orbit from his days in City Hall.
“No one in the country operates this way,” said Howard Wolfson, who runs the effort along with longtime political guru Kevin Sheekey.
“Bloomberg picks his targets wisely and executes,” [Josh] Holmes said. “They don’t spend a lot of time wringing their hands in the press.”
Here’s a rough formula:
- After researching opinion trends, demographics, and identifying willing allies, a target state and ballot/legislative issue is selected.
- Money pours in to “grassroots” organizations in the state to build a messaging/get-out-the-vote structure (such as a local Everytown or Moms Demand chapter) that can be used to promote both candidates and initiatives
- A stealthy media campaign distributes sound bites to the public
- If the campaign is successful, the issue will be exported to another state target, making necessary tweaks in messaging or ballot language along the way.
While the groups have dozens of gun control proposals on their wish list, they focus on a few at a time. In the last few years they have focused on:
- Expanding background checks to include private sales and loans.
- “Gun violence” restraining orders
- “Assault weapons” bans
- Outlawing “high capacity” magazines.
You’ll note the quotes around some of the terminology used. The wording is carefully chosen to create an emotional effect on the electorate, and the phrases are used over and over – like water dripping out of a faucet – in news stories and opinion pieces as their willing accomplices in the media provide free messaging assistance.
Expanded Background Checks
A ballot initiative, I-594, expanding background checks was passed in Washington State in 2014. By 2015, a similar law was passed by Oregon lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown. In 2016, similar measures were on the ballot in Nevada and Maine.
“Gun Violence” Restraining Orders
In 2014, California passed a bill instituting “gun violence” restraining orders, enabling family members or law enforcement to petition a court for an order to prohibit an individual they believe may harm himself or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. A similar law was enacted in Indiana. In 2016, the same legislation was on the ballot in Washington State as I-1491, “Extreme Risk Protection Order,” and passed. A similar bill was proposed in Oregon and defeated, but lawmakers are considering introducing it again this year. Also in 2016, California considered expanding their GVRO program to allow acquaintances and co-workers to petition to have an individual’s Second Amendment rights taken away.
Assault Weapons Bans
After the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Connecticut’s assault weapons ban in 2016, Everytown and their gun-grabbing counterparts in Washington and Oregon said they will use similar language in future initiatives or legislation in other states. Just this week the Washington AG released his proposal for an assault weapons ban in his state.
“Large Capacity” Magazine Ban
In November 2016, California voters passed Prop. 63, outlawing the possession of “large capacity” magazines. Both Ceasefire Oregon and Ceasefire Washington have listed this as one of their priorities for 2017, and a large capacity magazine ban is included in the assault weapons ban proposal in Washington.
Follow The Money
A review of campaign finance records and ballot initiatives in Washington and Oregon illustrates the plan in action.
In Oregon, Bloomberg and Bloomberg-backed entities spent over $4 million in a two-year period (2014-2016) to advance the cause. Of that, nearly $1 million was spent to lobby Oregon lawmakers and over $1 million in contributions were made to sympathetic politicians, including $250,000 to Governor Kate Brown’s 2016 campaign. Bloomberg was Brown’s largest contributor by far.
Kate Brown became governor in February 2015 upon the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber. Bloomberg’s groups were already in a full-blown campaign encouraging lawmakers to pass a bill expanding background checks to include private transactions, which Brown signed in May.
Gov. Brown has already filed her first proposal – which grants the Oregon State Police the power to indefinitely deny a gun purchase to a person even if they aren’t prohibited – in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.
Over $10 million has been spent in Washington since 2014 to eradicate the Second Amendment.
In 2014, Everytown and Bloomberg spent over $5 MILLION in Washington to ensure that the expanded background check initiative passed and that a competing initiative supported by gun rights groups was defeated.
In 2016, Bloomberg/Everytown-backed group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility spent $156,000 lobbying Washington legislators and another $100,000 in contributions directly to state candidates or committees. Over $4 MILLION was raised to pass I-1491.
Bloomberg also contributed $250,000 to the campaign of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
As mentioned above, an assault weapons and large capacity magazine ban has already been proposed by Washington’s attorney general.
All who value fundamental liberties should be terrified by the insidious Everytown/Bloomberg plot. Because it is an incremental, state-by-state plan, it won’t attract the national media attention schemes like “no fly/no buy” or a nationwide assault weapons ban would, and is a more effective method of achieving their ultimate goal.
But, knowledge is power. Now that we know how they operate and the battle plan, we can stop the wall’s construction then work on dismantling the pieces that are already in place.
We are in a proverbial gun fight, albeit one that is fought with political campaigns, lobbyists, and attorneys. There are organizations, such as FPC, that track, monitor, analyze and disseminate the information you need to fight. They fight in the halls of the state capitals, courtrooms and in the public eye. Join us – and join other gun rights organizations too. Share the information you find with your friends and acquaintances.
Lastly, Hold your head up high. This is our country, our way of life and we don’t have to bow to billionaires moving their political chess pieces around from their far flung private estates. The Second Amendment has more allies than the out-of-touch elites do, and we’re about to prove it to them.