About one week ago, Bill Gates threw his two cents, plus another million, into the gun-rights debate, attracting the ire of at least one guns-right supporter. Alan Gottlieb, chairman of a gun advocacy group, has challenged Bill Gates to a public debate over the background checks issue.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Bill Gates made a $1 million dollar donation to a group supporting Initiative 594, which would require background checks for firearm purchases in the State of Washington. Although the bill already enjoys overwhelming support, Bill Gates contribution is bringing national attention to the issue.
Now one pro-gun advocate is starting his own offensive against the wealthy tech genius.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), has challenged Gates to a debate over I-594.
Gottlieb said in a statement,
“Gates is one of a handful of wealthy Seattle-area elitists who have shelled out big bucks to push this measure. The campaign has become a battle of class warfare, pitting the rich against Washington State’s far-less-privileged middle class firearms owners, and their families and friends.”
The battle, as Gottlieb describes it, is for the time being, staggeringly one-sided.
A July survey from independent pollster Stuart Elway showed that 70% of respondents supported I-594. Supporters of the bill are being financed not only by Bill Gates but by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The campaign has over $6 million to fight for background checks.
On the other side, the NRA set up the anti-I-594 group the National Rifle Association of America Washingtonians Opposed to I-594. That group has $25,000. It and other anti-594 groups do not seem to be successful in raising more funds.
Needless to say, Bill Gates does not seem to be considering the debate. When asked about the public challenge a press secretary for the Gates family released this statement,
“We are pleased to join many others making a donation to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility to support Initiative 594 on the November ballot. We believe it will be an effective and balanced approach to improving gun safety in our state by closing existing loopholes for background checks.”
The debate may start to heat up after Labor Day, when voters typically start to look into the issues on the upcoming ballot. Nevertheless, it does not seem like Bill Gates and other 594 supporters have much to worry about.
[Image Credit: Remy Steinegger/Wikimedia Commons]