Editors Note: Yes, we're posting this article on election day, by the time some of you see this we will know the outcome of the critical 2018 elections for good or bad. Fingers crossed.
Washington – -(AmmoLand.com)- In all the fight over the United States Senate, governorships, and control over the United States House of Representatives, there is another threat that has been looming under the radar. That threat is I-1639 in Washington state. Given the realities of the political landscape in that state, this measure is likely to pass.
The initiative is not an outright ban on semi-automatic rifles, like that called for by Dianne Feinstein, but it is very nasty. This 30-page initiative made it on the ballot thanks to some blatant judicial activism by the state supreme court. That activism was aided by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has actively supported I-1639 rather than maintain neutrality, as has been the tradition in that state.
In essence, this initiative declares any semi-automatic rifle to be an “assault weapon,” and imposes a very strict requirement to own it. There are also provisions that will make having your gun ready to protect yourself or your home illegal, mandatory training requirements, and the underpinnings to create a registry of gun owners.
In other words, you may not face an actual ban, but it will become more expensive to exercise your right to own any semi-automatic rifle. You will face numerous vague provisions that will leave you open to criminal charges, even if the gun is stolen by someone who breaks into your house. What starts out with the semi-auto rifles could be expanded to include any firearm at all.
But the threat is not just the provisions of the legislation, even though they are quite onerous and draconian, and ignore the fact that rifles are rarely used to commit murder. According to Justice Department statistics, in 2017, you were about four times as likely to be stabbed to death than being shot by a rifle of any type, much less a semi-auto. You’re also about 15 percent more likely to be bludgeoned to death with a hammer or some other object, and about 75 percent more likely to be killed with someone’s bare hands or by being kicked. Rifles fall behind the category known as “other weapons or weapons not stated.”
The fact is, Bloomberg’s billions have been used to put “universal background checks” on the ballot before, and for the most part, that approach is succeeding. In essence, by going with referendums and initiatives, Bloomberg can bypass lawmakers and use his scare tactics and demonization of Second Amendment supporters to get restrictions that he wouldn’t otherwise get. Furthermore, efforts to repeal them can always be overturned with a second referendum, backed by the media, Hollywood, and even government officials.
Exactly how can this threat be countered? It’s going to be a long, hard road. First, waging a campaign against an initiative is different than voting for an elected official. This requires educating the public about the facts around the Second Amendment – and with a media that is more and more biased, that is doable but difficult and expensive.
The other line of defense is to build the legal precedents that can sink these measures. That will also cost money, and involves winning elections for President, United States Senate, governor, state lawmakers, and in some cases, state supreme court justices. The best approach is to combine these two lines of defense and accept that in some states, restoring our Second Amendment rights will be a long, bitterly-fought battle.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.