When they say money talks in the state of Washington, they really mean it. In this case, the money from five billionaires – Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates and Nick Hanauer – was enough to influence Washington voters to approve Initiative 594, the most intrusive background checks for firearms in the nation. The five men funded the liberal anti-Second Amendment measure to the tune of $1 million each.
Their $5 million campaign far outpaced the funding for Initiative 591 which called for the banning of all background checks that went beyond what federal standards require. I-594 would expand background checks to include all private sales and transfers of any firearm. The extended background checks would cover all private sales, gun shows, firearms purchased over the internet and even the sale or loan of a gun between family members or a friend.
Following the letter of I-594, before grandfather could take his grandson hunting with one of his guns, both the grandfather and grandson would have to undergo an extensive background check.
But like I said, money talks and it spoke loud as I-594 passed with over 60% of the vote. It was carried in nine of the ten largest counties in the state of Washington.
Alan Gottlieb, head of Washington Citizens for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms commented about the loss, saying:
“The $10 million-plus flooded in and a lot of it came in over the last few days. It’s hard to compete with that, hard to compete with five billionaires who writing checks for $1 million.”
“The NRA took a walk on this one. They didn’t really help us at all. They spent $400,000, mostly on a website. They ran no TV spots, no radio spots and no newspaper ads. They really weren’t part of our coalition, and the national implications of this are frightening. They’re already collecting signatures to get this on the ballot in Nevada next year, and have Oregon and Arizona on their list next.”
Initiative 594 is being hailed by anti-Second Amendment liberals as the model for gun control measures to be taken to every state in the country. Bloomberg has already spent millions of his dollars to push for anti-gun legislation in Colorado and New York prior to investing in Washington. He has vowed to keep spending in order to deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights and now that he has joined up with other billionaires, it’s going to be a tough battle for loyal and patriotic Americans.