Toward the end of Wednesday night’s only debate between two candidates running for the open seat in Washington State’s 8th Congressional District, the discussion turned to gun control, and the rhetoric from Democrat hopeful Dr. Kim Schrier turned smarmy.
This race is getting national attention because the 8th District has been held by Republicans since it was created, and it is one area Democrats desperately want to wrench away from the GOP in an effort to flip the U.S. House on Election Day. If the House changes control, Second Amendment activists worry that Democrats will renew their efforts to erode the right to keep and bear arms, thus rendering a right to a regulated privilege.
Schrier accused veteran Republican Dino Rossi – described by Seattle P-I.com political scribe Joel Connelly as a “wily old pro” – of being “bought and sold by the gun lobby.” She seemed offended by the fact that Rossi, who has served in public office as a state legislator, has been given an “A” rating by the National Rifle Association.
The Issaquah pediatrician, who has never held public office, declared, “We need common sense solutions and we will not be able to get there unless we get gun money out of our politics.”
But what about anti-gun money? Gun prohibitionists have pumped millions of dollars into gun control efforts in the Evergreen State, and in many other states. In 2014, the gun control lobby raised and spent more than $10 million to, according to critics, “buy” an election to pass Initiative 594, the so-called “universal background check” mandate that so far does not appear to have prevented a single deadly shooting, including the 2016 triple slaying at a teen party in Mukilteo and the murders of five shoppers at the Cascade Mall in Burlington a few months later.
This year, gun prohibitionists have raised some $4.5 million in an effort to pass another gun control measure, Initiative 1639, a 30-page measure that contains multiple components. It was around that initiative that the debate question was framed, and Rossi noted, in relation to how the measure hikes the minimum age for purchasing a semi-auto rifle, that, “I don’t believe and many people don’t believe that that provision and a few other provisions in there are actually constitutional. But the courts will decide that.”
Once again, in reporting the issue, KING-TV appears to be stuck in the rut of calling this a “gun safety” measure when I-1639 is a “gun control” effort, say grassroots pro-rights activists. Rossi opposes raising the age to purchase a modern sporting rifle.
Schrier seemed to be reciting rhetoric from the gun control playbook when she contended, “the only reason we have not been able to come to the middle and pass some really good common sense legislation is because the gun lobby is buying our politicians.”
But back in June, according to CNN, “Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg intends to spend an eye-popping $80 million on the midterm elections, throwing most of his financial weight behind Democrats in their effort take control of the House of Representatives this fall.”
Perhaps there is some difference between “buying politicians” and buying a political party.
Bloomberg is the anti-gun-rights billionaire whose Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying group has been helping bankroll gun control efforts all over the landscape. The Everytown Action Fund has kicked in $250,000 cash to the I-1639 campaign and another $59,500 “in kind” contribution, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Meanwhile, the NRA has contributed a comparatively paltry sum of $200,000 to fight the gun control initiative.
How is it that Schrier didn’t mention that, nor was there any mention of the overwhelming law enforcement opposition to the initiative. The four largest law enforcement organizations in the state have lined up against I-1639.