Follow-up: Momentum, Not Money, in WA Gun Control Repeal Effort

The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is expanding, and now Presidio County, Texas has joined. (Dave Workman photo)

U.S.A.-( Grassroots momentum is building fast in a the admittedly-uphill effort to repeal Washington State’s gun control Initiative 1639, but the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby is already using the pro-rights repeal effort to raise cash to fight gun owners, and buried in a story about the new campaign in the Seattle is a hard truth: Money matters.

Money can literally buy an election, a fact not lost on wealthy anti-gunners. They’re using Washington as a “test tube” to learn how to launch similar efforts in other states with the citizen initiative process. They can out-spend gun owners, and they know it.

So far, rights activists pushing Initiative 1094—the repeal measure—have not been raising money, but they did just pick up some important support. Big Top Gun Shows has announced signature drives at each of its eight gun show events in November and December, all in Western Washington. Those gatherings are scheduled in Enumclaw, Bremerton, Ferndale, Tacoma, Everett, Vancouver and Lacey, with perhaps the most important of them all being the Tacoma event Nov. 23-24.

I-1639 was passed last November by just under 60 percent of the voters. It’s a formidable number to overcome, especially when asking voters to reverse what they did a year ago.

Veteran political columnist Joel Connelly, a pro-gun control writer, observed via e-mail, “How do (they) expect to reverse such a strong vote, in a state that has voted for three gun initiatives? Where will (they) get the money to go toe-to-toe with the Alliance for Gun Responsibility?”

A grassroots campaign to repeal gun control Initiative 1639 in Washington State is gathering momentum. (Dave Workman photo)

It’s a fair question, underscored by something Connelly wrote in his article.

“The Alliance for Gun Responsibility, at an annual luncheon in June, has cleared between $750,000 and $1 million,” he reported. “Backers of I-1639 spent about $4.4 million to get the measure on the ballot…”

Incredibly, after noting how much money the Alliance raised and spent, he was critical of how that group was described in Ammoland as the “Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby, which is bankrolled by billionaires and wealthy elitists.” Who else but wealthy elitists could open their wallets at a luncheon to cough up so much money?

The importance of the late-November Tacoma gun show, and one slated the same weekend in nearby Puyallup by the Washington Arms Collectors, cannot be overstated. Memories will still be fresh about the Tacoma City Council’s effort to adopt a gun and ammunition tax, which KTTH talk radio host Jason Rantz has dubbed “a self-defense tax” at

The vote, which was scheduled for Tuesday evening, was postponed until Nov. 12. Mayor Woodards said the delay was to allow the council more time to add amendments, according to KCPQ News.

I-1094 needs to collect 300,000 signatures by the end of December. It’s going to require a Herculean effort. Supporters are well aware of the daunting challenge they face. But they’re angry, and sometimes that’s more important than having a fat bank account.

But the importance of money hasn’t been lost on the Alliance, which sent out an e-mail blast on the heels of Connelly’s column.

“It’s been almost a year since Washington State voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 1639 to make our communities safer,” the Alliance said, “and almost a year since the NRA filed their first – but not last – lawsuit to stop this lifesaving initiative. Now, it seems that we are facing yet another threat to our hard work to make Washington safer. New reports claim that a group of gun rights extremists, including members of the anti-government militia group called the Washington State Three Percenters, are starting a petition to get a measure to repeal I-1639 on the ballot in November 2020.”

The lawsuit about which the Alliance speaks involves more than just the National Rifle Association, and they know it. The Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash., is a full partner, and they are suing on behalf of two firearms retailers and individuals in the 18-20-year-old age group whose Second Amendment rights have allegedly been stripped away by I-1639’s prohibition on sales of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” to anyone under age 21. Both retailers are supporting the repeal effort.

That lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on federal constitutional grounds, getting it out of the state court system.

But the Alliance, portraying itself as an underdog, declares in its e-mail, “They need to know that we’ll never give up on fighting for the safety of our children and defending the will of the people – but every day this fight gets more expensive, and we depend on financial support from gun safety advocates like you to keep it going.”

In reality, the bulk of I-1639 campaign funds came from about ten sources, according to data from the state Public Disclosure Commission.

One of those sources was the late Paul Allen, who kicked in more than $1.2 million. Another was Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, which donated more than a half-million dollars in cash and “in-kind” contributions.

The Alliance e-mail beg also claims, “Our country is suffering from a gun violence epidemic and the gun lobby won’t even acknowledge it. Time and time again, they’ve blatantly ignored the facts, and now they’re blatantly ignoring the people’s will – all in support of their deadly guns-everywhere agenda.”

Here are some facts. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018, homicide, including those involving firearms, declined. In 2018, the FBI reported 10,265 and in 2017, there were 10,982 gun-related slayings. Gun prohibition lobbying groups typically combine homicide and suicide data to create a more dramatic impression, calling it all “gun violence.” By most estimates, roughly 60-66 percent of all firearms-related deaths in any given year are suicides.

Annually, more people are fatally stabbed, stomped or beaten to death than are killed with either rifles or shotguns.

Connelly is correct when he intimates the Alliance will throw a bank vault supply of money at any effort to repeal I-1639. Beleaguered Evergreen State rights activists can attest that’s what happens when “billionaires and wealthy elitists” find their agenda challenged.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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I truly resent being called an “extremist” by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a normal person that puts their pants on one leg at a time and goes to work everyday just like everyone else. I share the same desires that everyone has to see the end of mass shootings and violent crime, however I know gun control isn’t the answer. The opposite is quite true as a matter of fact. I know that evil will always exist, and evil will always find a way. It makes me sad for the people… Read more »


Interesting stats on the home page. Not the best presentation, but OK. Some of the referenced sources are good…and telling of how hard the left works within our government to interpret facts. I particularly noted reference to the Pew report on guns in the home. Note the suggested non-gun “weapons” and try not to laugh. “Additional research is needed to weigh the competing risks and protective benefits that may accompany gun ownership in different communities. This information will be invaluable to individuals wanting to make an informed decision about the benefits and risks of keeping a gun in their… Read more »


An underwhelming majority of voters enacted 1639. Less than 25% of the registered voters enacted 1639. If only all of the concealed permit holders in the state vote to void 1639 that will nullify all the votes in King County


Rand, you are right. Voter turnout–or lack thereof–is what is killing our nation. It was a 28% total voter turnout that elected “AOC”. With 100 million gun owners in America, we should be able to win every election…but not if we don’t vote.


The NRA recently squandered 42 million dollars of our membership money on a failed TV station. This was money that should have gone to legal defense of the 2A when other defense organizations where begging for money to protect our rights in courts. I support the NRA but not their inept management.


You read about how many gun owner there in America if that is true , if ever gun owner would give 5 Dollars that would be I lot of money to fight these Anti God, Anti America, Anti 2 Amendment Socialist Cockroaches


I would be willing to bet $$$ that 90% of Americans that own guns DO NOT give a RED nickel to any Gun Groups!!.That makes the FEW of us join 2-3 organizations and slap it on credit cards,several times a year to each. What happened to the NRA?. Ever since the living like luxury Wayne LaPierre news came out, I see ZERO Ad’s,and it’s like there isn’t one. My bet is GOA has picked up close to a million new members. THEY need the 6 Million members, as well as the American GOA, and JFPO. Strength is in numbers,IF the… Read more »


Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the Left’s Liberty for Security rhetoric… which is simply a thinly veiled nationwide confiscation… which has preceded every period of government tyranny in recorded history… is what the Pro Second Amendment groups HAVENT utilized. How simple would an advertising campaign showing snippets of liberals “gun violence” claims followed by 2018 statistics… 297 people killed by rifles… 10,874 killed by drunk driving… and then simply police officer after police officer stating what THEY KNOW as the foremost authority on “gun violence”. Banning weapons will only disarm law-abiding citizens. Just as the “war on drugs” simply… Read more »


Join the tenthamendmentcenter..They are the only ones taking the offensive approach, Pushing nulification of un constitutional federal laws, Kansas was the first state voting to not enforce any federal gun laws, theres other states but I cant remember which, Oklahoma was the latest victory, The legislature over-whelmingly passed permitless carry for concealed or open!..Join the fight!, I’m sick of the so called gun rights groups doing nothing but defending! and compromising!


We all need to combine our efforts to defeat ANY unconstitutional legislation. #ArticleVI !!!


Time to END money coming into an area to “enable” the CONTROLLERS’ agenda. Why is EXTERNAL funds allowed in neighborhood politics. Is this not VOTER INTERFERENCE by OUT-OF-STATERS!!!!!!!


Then the various pro firearms organizations would not be able to help.
It works both ways.


It’s true that money is critical for political action but… action comes first. All the folks pushing this initiative should be proud of the organization they’ve demonstrated and stick with activism no matter what happens IMO

Will Flatt

The importance of wealthy contributors to political activism underscores something else. These wealthy donors need to know that their money will be invested properly. Used, that is, to advance the cause and not pad the paychecks of toxic executives & their cronies, and be shuffled between bank accounts as kickbacks from organizations to vendors and back, to hide the money. This means YOU, NRA. No more money for you; you’ve proven your inability to handle finances responsibly or maintain the good faith and trust of those who have donated to you in former times.

Wild Bill

If Dave Workman and Ammoland did not report on this, then a guy would never know about it. The enemies of the Constitution want to keep us separated and ignorant, so that we can not support each other.


Notice how the anti-defense league never gives us the stats on aggravated assaults? People are killed by Knives, clubs even hands and feet. In Japan, the suicide rate is higher than the U.S, the preferred method is jumping, It’s become so bad that the government is now charging family’s for the cleanup


This contains WHAT the Progressives do not want you to know.
ACTUAL FBI 2018 Stats.


Have the actual signature petitions been approved for distribution yet? If not, when? If so, HOW does one get their mits on them to distribute and collect signatures?

Ansel Hazen

Thanks for the articles you write Dave.

Bills Guns

Falcon Productions will also be gathering signatures at the November and December Gun Shows in Stanwood and Port Angeles


We can with all honesty state the following:

Paul Allen donated $1.2M to I-1639, and look where he is now.