A hard-hitting piece published online under veteran journalist Frank Miniter’s byline lays bare the way big money has become a new weapon in the war against individual Second Amendment rights, and the timing could make a difference this fall and into next year, provided people decide the Constitution isn’t for sale.
Writing in America’s First Freedom, Miniter offers this caution:
Someone who hasn’t looked into what so-called ‘universal’ background check laws really do (as always, ‘universal’ is in quotes because criminals by definition won’t submit themselves to this law, so it isn’t really universal) might think this is commonsensical, even innocuous, legislation. They might not know that such laws criminalize the normal and otherwise law-abiding behavior of average Americans or that research shows such laws won’t stop criminals from getting guns.”
That can certainly be said about Initiative 594, passed two years ago in Washington State by the well-funded Alliance for Gun Responsibility (AGR). The Seattle-based group got about half of its funding from a relative handful of wealthy elitists living in about ten Seattle-area zip codes. Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg also kicked in a couple of million dollars to the campaign.
AGR is now pushing Initiative 1491 in Washington, the so-called “emergency protection order” measure. But there is opposition to that measure from mental health activists as well as gun owners and other rights activists.
As Miniter notes, Bloomberg’s initial attempts to buy legislative influence haven’t fared too well. So, he and other billionaires including Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer poured small fortunes into Washington’s AGR effort, which was spearheaded by Nick Hanauer. It worked, after they spent more than $10.4 million to pass I-594, the so-called “universal background check” measure two years ago. But did it accomplish anything? More about that in a minute.
Now the same strategy is being used in Maine and Nevada. As Miniter explained about Bloomberg’s anti-gun efforts, “he has been trying, with some success, to shape public opinion through misleading advocacy campaigns designed to convince majorities of people to unwittingly vote away their freedom.” Miniter added this:
This isn’t to say that the voter initiative process is bad, just that it is a process that can be hijacked by someone with billions of dollars and an agenda designed to hoodwink the general public. This is especially dangerous when a majority of so-called “mainstream” journalists pick one side over the other (which is what often happens with the gun-rights versus gun-control debate in America). Without the media objectively shedding light on an issue, a person like Bloomberg can get away with a lot.”
This isn’t the whole story, either. As TheGunMag.com (TGM) is reporting, two gun prohibition lobbying groups in the Pacific Northwest have launched a joint effort in Oregon and Washington to ban so-called “assault weapons.” However, an analysis of long-term crime data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report suggests they are offering a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
In the 11 years from 2004 through 2014, rifles of any kind were used in a tiny number of the homicides recorded in both states, according to FBI statistics. Overall, firearms of all types were responsible for slightly over 53 percent of the murders in Oregon and roughly 57 percent of slayings in Washington.
For example, in 2014, the most recent year for which complete FBI data is available, Oregon reported 39 firearms-related slayings out of 73 total murders. Of those, 16 involved handguns, two were committed with rifles and two more with shotguns. Fourteen were committed with knives or other cutting instruments and 18 were committed with “other weapons.”
To further amplify the dilemma for anti-gunners, nationwide that year, again according to the FBI, there were a total of 11,961 murder victims. Of those, 8,124 were killed with firearms, including 5,562 with handguns, 248 with rifles, 262 with shotguns, and 1,567 with knives or other sharp instruments. Another 2,052 were killed with firearms of an unknown type.
This means that just over two percent of all homicide victims nationwide were identifiably killed with rifles of any kind.
The question remains: Why so much emphasis on banning a type/class of firearms that are involved in such a tiny percentage of homicides?
But none of this matters to the gun prohibition lobby. Critics say they are more interested in “trophy legislation” – passing bills or initiative measures that accomplish nothing more than to erode the Second Amendment, without preventing a single crime – than they are in public safety.
Proof of that came when it was revealed that in the year following passage of I-594, not one arrest or prosecution had been reported, and according to the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, there was no evidence that a single crime had been prevented, nor had the measure kept guns from falling into the wrong hands.