Gun control advocates poured millions into the Washington state Ballot Initiative 594. Five billionaires in particular dug into their pockets in order to make background checks on nearly all private gun sales subject to background checks. A competing measure which would have prevented all but federal background checks was defeated during the 2014 Midterms.
The Washington gun control law will trigger a mandate requiring gun sales and the loans of firearms made between friends, relatives, at gun shows, and purchases made online, to be subject to a background check. Gone are the days when Grandpa can pass down a gun to the next generation without first paying for a background check.
Ballot Initiative 594 won easily in nine of the 10 counties in Washington. Background checks are currently only required when purchasing a firearm from a gun dealer. Billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Paul Allen, Nick Hanauer, Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer reportedly spent more than $5 million to push for the gun control law in Washington. Second Amendment advocates did not support the measure.
The five billionaires outspent the Second Amendment opposition by more than an eight to one margin. The wealthy men bombarded the airwaves with gun control ads, according to Washington Citizens for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms head Alan Gottlieb.
"We're running behind. We have over 10,000 votes to be counted, and most are from eastern Washington. We'll improve throughout the night but I don't think we'll be able to cross the 50 percent threshold. 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," Gottlieb said during 2014 Midterms election results coverage.
The Washington Second Amendment activist also maintains that the National Rifle Association "took a walk" on the fight against the gun control measure and did not help fight back against the billionaires writing checks to further their agenda.
"They [NRA] 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," the gun rights advocate added.
Some of the Washington gun control ads featured survivors or mass shootings giving emotional pleas pass the background checks law.
What do you think about the Washington gun control initiative? Do the new background checks infringe upon Second Amendment rights?
[Image via: Brea Miller Photography]