If you are one of the many gun owners who thinks that gun control was dealt a death blow in the 2014 mid-term elections, think again. While control of both the House and the Senate is in the hands of the Republicans, the shift is not going to stop anti-gun-rights fanatics like Michael Bloomberg. It has only changed their strategy.
According to Time:
“Despite a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate, gun control advocates celebrated Wednesday on the heels of a major ballot measure victory in Washington State, which they say offers a new road map for enacting new guns laws around the country.” [Full article here.]
Basically, what gun control zealots intend to do is to bypass Congress completely. They were disappointed that new gun control efforts have had little success, even in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which they believed would make greater restrictions easier to pass. But that didn’t happen.
So instead of attempting to sway Congressional legislators, gun control proponents have been redirecting their attention (and money) to the individual states. This in itself is nothing new—most of us in the carry community can point to gun control groups active in our respective communities.
But the “Bloomies” and their ilk now intend to appeal to voters directly. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, gun control groups will be using their massive war chests to run TV and radio spots, as well as social media campaigns. NSSF warns that they will be “spending millions in advertising to convince low-information, sound-bite susceptible voters to try to force policy change in some of the 26 states that allow initiatives and referendums.”
Part of the reason for the expanded push is that Washington State voters approved Initiative 594, which was marketed as merely “expanding background checks to private sales and transfers.” While sounding innocent enough to the average citizen, I-594 will do nothing to stop criminals from obtaining guns illegally. However, it does have the potential for turning millions of previously law-abiding citizens into criminals.
I once heard a law professor say to a classroom full of aspiring lawyers, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d bet that if I conducted just a cursory investigation into each of your backgrounds, I could charge every person in this room with a felony.” He wasn’t exaggerating. The veritable explosion of laws, ordinances, and regulations, from state, federal, and local governments and their agencies makes being truly “law-abiding” an almost impossible goal.
First of all, the term, “universal background checks” is itself a canard, since criminals will always ignore any regulations society imposes. Besides outright theft, one of the easiest ways for a felon or otherwise prohibited person to get a gun is to employ a “straw purchaser”—having a friend or acquaintance with a clean record buy the gun for them. After handing over the gun, the “purchaser” simply reports the gun(s) stolen, thus avoiding a potential felony charge. Felons couldn’t care less.
No background check of any kind will ever prevent “straw purchases.” What laws like I-594 will do, however, is to potentially expose an unknowing father to a felony charge for simply getting a gun for his son’s or daughter’s birthday without the mandated check.
Unfortunately, many people unfamiliar with these issues will vote for them. So we absolutely must make our case to the public at least as loudly and persuasively as Mr. Bloomberg and his friends do.