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The National Rifle Association has anti-ballistic billionaire bully boy Michael Bloomberg in its proverbial sights. As you can see in the video above – one of a series attacking the former New York City Mayor for bankrolling America’s civilian disarmament movement – the NRA pits “big city” big bucks Bloomberg against rural America (amber waves of grain and all that). Yes, well, the pro-gun folks in Washington state are yelling “hello?” Where’s our cash? So much so their kvetching has caught the eye of the Washington Post . . .

In Washington State, two gun-related initiatives are on the ballot this year. One, Initiative 594, would expand background checks to cover private sales and sales at gun shows. The other, Initiative 591, would prohibit the state from conducting background checks beyond those required by federal law. The two measures effectively negate each other; it’s unclear which would take precedence if they both pass.

They are the only gun-related measures on the ballot this year, but gun rights advocates who back I-591 and oppose I-594 say the NRA isn’t flexing its muscles very publicly.

“The NRA has really not been involved at all until very recently, and not in the area of spending significantly at all,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “I have no idea why. We have a coalition made up of all the gun rights groups in Washington, and they are not participating. They’re doing their own thing.”

That’s kind of rich (so to speak) coming from Gottleib, who “did his own thing” when the feds were threatening a post-Newtown universal background check bill.

And it’s worth noting that the NRA are hardly a bunch of hayseeds. They’re masters of the art of realpolitik, spending their time, members’ money and legislative effort where they think it will do maximum good for gun rights. Either that or the bureaucracy-heavy gun rights group has some internal dissension thing we know nothing about.

I’m going with explanation A. As the Post points out, the Evergreen State referenda battle is a bit of a financial sinkhole. No matter who wins, the thing’s bound to end up in court and/or the legislature. Besides, the NRA might git ‘er done without matching the billionaire’s millions.

The groups opposing expanded background checks, by contrast, have raised only $1.3 million. Of that, the NRA has contributed $191,000 to a Washington State affiliate. That group has spent $100,000 on advertising and $31,000 on billboards, according to PDC filings.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA in Virginia, said the group has had two full-time staff on the ground for months. He estimated that the NRA has spent a total of $300,000 to $400,000 so far against I-594, with that number likely to grow in the final two months before Election Day. That figure doesn’t include communications with members and those who receive the NRA’s magazines and publications, he said.

“Whatever we do is going to be a grass-roots effort. We’re certainly not an organization, in contrast to Mike Bloomberg’s group, who has the ability to spend tens of millions without batting an eye,” Arulanandam said. “As recent history has shown, looking at what happened in Wisconsin in the sheriff’s race and in Colorado with the recall races, money isn’t everything. We have the grass-roots support.”

Let’s just hope they have the votes. Otherwise, the post-referenda acrimony could be bad, for all concerned. [h/t EN]

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  1. It seems the NRA is damned if they do or don’t. We already have pretty much no private sales in Illinois. I won’t bother with Armslist as everything had to go FFL( and everybody thinks their crap is worth more than retail). Is $400000 nothing coming from the NRA?

  2. The NRA needs a pro-gun “Bloomberg” to donate $50 million. But it doesn’t have one. It mostly raises money one small donation or fee at a time. And then the NRA uses the money for a myriad of gun-related purposes, such as hunter safety, range services, firearms safety, youth programs etc.

    MDA has one job — to promote Bloomberg’s brand of hatred against guns and especially against gun owners living alongside dirt roads and such.

    • You don’t need a dirt road to be hated by MDA and Bloomberg. You don’t even need to own a firearm. All you need is to believe in the right to own firearms, the right to carry firearms and the right to self-defense.

  3. I was driving around Bellevue last night (the suburb east of Seattle, where most of the world’s software engineers and Lamborghini owners seem to live) and the roads were plastered with “Yes on 591” signs (591 is the one that prohibits CA-style gun confiscation without due process as well as prohibiting a state background check).

    This is the state that managed to vote down an initiative that would have created an income tax in the same year it passed ones legalizing gay marriage and marijuana.

    It’s also the state where, with a Democratic majority legislature and governor, we passed laws repealing the ban on using a silencer (they were already legal to own) and the ban on SBRs. And the state where that same legislature voted down UBCs a few months after the Sandy Hook murders.

    The state might seem very Obama-esque on a national level, but on the state level, it seems to have more of a libertarian streak. If the Republicans could manage to nominate somebody who’s views on social issues were more 21st century (like Gary Johnson), that candidate could probably win in Washington.

    • Bellevue is home to the SAF, so that could also be a reason why you were saying a lot of yes on 591 signs. Most things seem to be falling in our favor. It’s Obamas last two years and people are unhappy with his job. Republicans tend to come out in larger numbers, especially on these off years. We are voting on a cause that we feel extremely passionate about, and WA is home to SAF. Who knows what will happen, it’s kind of a mystery at this point, but I am cautiously optimistic.

      As far as this video goes, I was pleasantly surprised. This is the first NRA video I actually enjoyed. Most of them come off as really cheesy and targeting a specific group of people. They did a very good job with this video, and I hope they keep making ones like this.

      • “It’s Obamas last two years and people are unhappy with his job.”

        I don’t know what it is but people continually underestimate the time Obama has left in office. It was January of this year and people were saying his second term was already half over when we were not even a year into it yet. Now this. No, Obama still has over two years to go. The two year mark isn’t until 20 January 2015.

    • I used to live in Washington.

      While there is a lot of uber liberal fart sniffing going on there, I too believe there is a strong libertarian streak.

      Washingtonians, especially the younger generation will tell /anyone/ who tries getting in their business to fuck off. You see, in the 90s, there were a lot of heavy handed Republicans so the WA vote swung to the left. Now we are just seeing the natural reversal.

      I decided to be a Libertarian right after the turn of the century.

      I was deployed. While I was deployed, Democrats were trying to lower my pay and take away my military career options. At the same time this was going on, Republicans were trying to take away everyone’s playboy mags (while we were overseas for 6 months to a year and effectively not allowed to have sex).

      So… fuck em all.

  4. WA state PDC makes the donor lists public online:

    Anti-gun 594:

    Pro-gun 591:

    As you can see, 594 donations come from the who’s who of popular billionaires. 591 has ZERO monetary support from the NRA, and they are basically doing nothing to help fight 594 by way of advertising or PR, while the 594 group runs misleading/lying ads every other commercial break on local TV – ads featuring former/retired paid police shills, failing to mention that WACOPS, representing over 100 police agencies and unions in WA, opposes 594.

    594 would make a felon out of almost all gun owners who ever lend/borrow firearms, participate in group shoots, or shoot on public land with friends – it is so broadly written in its “transfers” language.

    • When I told my retired mother that I committed a gross misdemeanor under this new law by handing her an unloaded Glock to look at in her living room, and that she committed one when she handed it back-that is when she decided to vote against 594

    • P.S. the most hypocritical billionaire donor on that front page of the 594 list, Paul Allen, owns his own FFL (Vulcan Warbirds) and is rumored to posess NFA items that are not even allowed in this state.

    • As far as I can tell from the language of the initiative, it would be generally illegal to handle a gun that belongs to your spouse, assuming that your spouse underwent a background check to get that gun. Clean your spouse’s gun after a range visit: crime. Move your spouse’s gun from an unsecured area of the house to a safe because company’s coming: crime. Such handling would be legal only in an life-threatening crisis. (So much for community property in a marriage!)

      You can’t even give a newbie hands-on training before you go to a gun range.

      Details like this are why the law would be so bad. Whoever wrote it–and whoever votes for it–is clueless about the true responsibilities of gun ownership.

      • That’s incorrect. Free transfer is allowed between spouses. I’d cite it but I’m on mobile.

        I hate 594 for many reasons but that exemption is written in.

      • Ah, I think I found it. I got confused between section 4a and section 4f.

        Thanks for the correction.

        And yes, there are still many good reasons to be opposed to it.

    • The lists are very interesting. While I get to bask in the limelight of seeing my name on the 591 list multiple times, I also see 5 people I know (unfortunately, all left-leaning higher ed academics) that have contributed to 594. With this in mind, I think I’ll give them a holler and ask them why they’re interested in making my family and I into paper criminals…

    • I almost hope that both pass, so that the legislature will be forced to ask themselves:

      “What the fuck did we just do?”

  5. When I have taken firearms courses in that area, it always seems like the majority of the participants are fairly well off young Microsoft-type computer people. They may follow a social liberal/progressive streak in many ways, but they certainly like their firearms. This will be an interesting election to watch, given the millions of dollars donated by people like Gates, Ballmer, and Bloomberg.

    • I was the President of the Microsoft Gun Club (yes – we had one there!) for about three years. One of the most ironic parts of that was getting the financial statement from the NRA Foundation. Thanks to Microsoft’s general policy of matching employee donations to tax-exempt charities, plus the fairly generous donations that we made, in toto, the Microsoft donation to the Foundation was one of the largest in the country. The NRA Foundation supports training, range development, etc.

      It was pretty easy for me to organize training classes, bring in high-end instructors like Jeff Gonzales (Trident Concepts), or participate as a team in the local Glock matches — there were always lots of ‘Softies in the club. And most of those were very smart, very libertarian in their views, and a few of them pretty well off.

      • There are still active aliases where us MSFTers discuss firearms and this terrible law.

        Overall I find the political makeup of my cohorts pretty balanced. Contractors more liberal and FTEs more conservative but overall balanced.

    • IT in general seems to be very closely tied to many libertarian-esque ideologies, at least for western IT folks. Those deeply steeped in the IT subculture have always been very much pro-freedom when it comes to information, ideas, and in most cases, personal freedoms such as 2A.

      Then again, a lot of us IT folks of a professional age today grew up playing gun-heavy games as well, and our first steady paycheck often times included a burgeoning collection of toys of many kind.

      Just don’t get involved with those shady European open-source developers, they’ll force you to run Linux and worship at the altar Communist Richard Stallman (just kidding, Linux has always been great. RMS is still a commie though).

  6. As a Washington State resident these two issues do concern me. However what concerns me more is how much money is going into this on both sides? How much has bloomberg spent over all to disarm us all? Where is he getting the money? OK he is a billionaire, but exactly how much of his person billions are actually being spent? Just my 2 cents worth.

      • Thanks, Jeff- those are eye-opening contributions by Bloomberg $1Million, Gates $1M, and Balmer $1m+ but some of the others make me wonder- whats in it for them…

        Nicholas Hannauer- Venture Capitalist- is this one of the guys behind the Armatix, or another Smart Gun, to win the prize for most money given by FEDGOV for another bogus crony-capitalist crooked venture-

        you know- another Solyndra, A123, Obama community organizer Progtard feeding frenzy bamboozle gone bust after $$$ B of taxpayer money dumped in, then sold out to the Chinese for pennies.

        • It might interest you to know that Nick Hanauer is the man who several months back penned a very widely-circulated article that warned billionaires of a coming global revolution against them, so to speak.

          So, his involvement in civilian disarmament schemes is not surprising.

          There are rumors that if I-594 passes, Hanauer’s interest group, Washington Association for Gun Responsibility (which is the group primarily responsible for the creation of I-594) will be pushing for a high-cap mag ban in WA state. At that point, a California style AWB would only naturally be next. I have never seen these rumors substantiated, but it’s simply a natural progression for the organization.

        • Thanks, Jeff.
          TL/DR: Just another of the “Progressive Elites Who Know Whats Best For The Rest Of Us…”

          Why am I not surprised? Hannauer creeps me out- why do I get the smell of a “rich guy wanna be king” archetype of the Dark Enlightment- neo Fascists movement. Truly retarded if they weren’t so deluded and dangerous:

        • Oh, yeah- I remember reading that article on Politico. Smarmy, I am so smart self-promotion…
          and lemme see- Jeff Bezos college buddy.

          Great- no wonder the conveniently timed whine about the NRA in Bezo’s new shiny toy- Washington Post.

          These guys are sad, just sad little tin pot Chavez wannabe’s.

        • Last comment- reading Hannauers “I am a rich guy who really really cares about the little guy BS…”

          You’d think he could read a little history- from his closing:

          “My family, the Hanauers, started in Germany selling feathers and pillows. They got chased out of Germany by Hitler and ended up in Seattle owning another pillow company. Three generations later, I benefited from that.”

          So, take Washington citizens right to self-defense away, is that it Nick?
          That’s how you are going to run your enlightened movement for the little folks?
          Did you learn nothing from your grandparents? Frigging trust fund kid thinking…

  7. As I drive up and down 148th in Bellevue, I also see the 591 signs. I’m pretty sure Bellevue is a dead cinch to vote for it and against 594. It’s districts like Ballard and Fremont that have me worried. I hope good sense will prevail with the passage of 591 as well as the defeat of 594. I’m marking the days ’til my ballot gets here.

    • Eastern WA is going to be heavily against 594, and for 591, so that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, the Seattle metro area outnumbers everything east of the Cascades. If enough people in western WA go progtard, we’re sunk no matter which way the east side votes.

      • This is always the worry of those of us on the gun-side (versus the Birkenstock-side) of the state. We hate the liberal Seattleites forcing us to pay for stadiums we don’t want, viaducts we’ll never drive on and restricting our gun rights. I sport a pro-591 car sticker (and I’ve seen a few more around) but there’s no commercials on the east side of the Cascades and very little adverts as Bloomberg’s ba$tards know how the east side will vote. Once again, I fear the west side will set to tone for this election. I really wish they’d keep their noses in their high-priced coffee and keep staring at their “smart” phones and stay the hell out of my life.

  8. Bloomberg is a lying sack o’ s___!

    All this talk about going back to work and MDA no longer going after AR & AK rifles and the normal clips (old school) is bull. THEY HAVEN’T GIVEN UP!

    They are just pulling in their horns a bit getting ready to gore us when the election is over, if it goes their way.

    They haven’t given up at all! Be wary, very wary! The blind side is coming.

    I wouldn’t believe any talk about success with Russian AK’s either. Obama’s action wasn’t to hurt the Russians, it was to hurt us. There are plenty of non-Russian weapons out there!

  9. Top down money doesnt work. Seems like everytime Gottlieb opens his mouth he puts his foot in it. He needs to read “Rise of the Anti-Media” and understand that the NRA is way ahead of SAF in lobbying, and grass roots support. Thats what works. If the grassroots dont grow, then all the money in the world wont help.

    Anti-gunners lost in CO, because a plumber organized a grass-roots recall, that took down two democrats, and will do the same to the Governor, when that election rolls around,

    BUT ONLY IF the State Repubs can get their collective heads out of their rears, and find a candidate who can appeal to the independents, and well as the social conservatives.

  10. On the other hand, social media, innertubz to go around the StateRunMedia DOES work- and TTAG is part of that- so the more the “buzz” goes out to the independent minded, libertarian, tech smart folks the better-

    and I am happy the WAPO is whining- the more the better- you can read between the lines and see what they are trying to do- sow discord and despair….

    so the answer is not More Money to try to compete, but more buzz- among the people in Washington State- post links or comments from here, to local papers, write an opinion piece, or comment in local paper, blog, website- pass the word to friends on Facebook, email….

    only a grassroots effort will work against a top-down, and it CAN be energized by outrage against out-of-towners and the Rich Elite Who Think They Know Whats Best for the Rest of Us Little Citizens.

  11. I live in Washington State and though there are many folks here who are liberal on heath care and other social issues (especially on the West side of the State) they to not necessarily agree with the Dems on the gun rights issues. Many of us think and act like independents on those issues. I don’t register as a Dem or a Rep but as an independent. I don’t want any party telling me what to do or how to vote. I make up my own mind based on the candidates and the issues. When anyone in either party tells me how I should vote the hair on my neck stands up and I am very likely to vote the opposite. The arguments for their positions have to make sense to me to get my support. And I never agree with the entire platform of either party anyway.

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