We underestimate our enemies at our peril. The Washington State universal background check initiative, I-594, should have taught us that. We may think that Michael Bloomberg is a rich, power-mad little Napolean or, as Michael Bane calls him, a nastly little Fascist. However, he did not get to be rich by marrying the right woman or picking the right parents. No, he saw a need and devised a way to fulfill it. Along the way, this insight and his skills made him a very rich man. The bottom line is he is not stupid and he can think strategically.
Likewise, it is easy to dismiss Shannon Watts as an up-marrying, social climbing PR flack who attached herself to gun control as a way to rejuvenate her ailing career. However, she didn't get to be a VP at Wellpoint without some degree of talent and a mastery of public relations tactics. We have seen that with the way she created the appearance of a win for gun control - even it if wasn't - from the announcements by companies like Starbucks and Chipotles that they didn't want guns in their stores. Perception is reality and the perception is that guns were banned there even if it was merely an unenforceable polite request to leave the guns at home.
Thus, when I read this post from Hyperion 1144 on Reddit, a light went off. The goal of Bloomberg wasn't universal background checks. It was to kill the gun culture in America by strangling its ability to bring new adults into it. We always say that taking someone shooting is a great way to inoculate them from the claims of the gun prohibitionists. If that is made too hard by the restrictions on transfers in I-594, then we can't achieve this inoculation.
I-594 is a not a tactical move by gun confiscationists, it is a strategic move.I think the author, Hyperion 1144, makes a lot of sense and we need to get that message across to all gun owners - Fudds, Threepers, Prags, or what other subgroup of gun owners you can think of.
This law was created by smart, wealthy, well-funded persons who are playing the long game, and if gun owners don’t start running a long-game strategy to match, we are done for within two generations. Washington has passed Initiative 594, a law marketed as requiring background checks on all sales, but which in reality has criminalized the act of touching any gun you do not own. This means that if you don’t own a gun in Washington State, it is now illegal for you to touch a gun.
I haven’t yet seen an article, comment, or post anywhere that takes into account the long-term cultural implications of such a regulation. I-594 is literally a legislative vaccine against the spread of gun culture.
How is someone curious about guns in Washington state supposed to learn about them about now? They won’t be able to go shooting with friends, they won’t be able to go to friends house to be shown how to field strip a 9mm. Gun classes have likely been outlawed. Gun rentals are likely gone now, too.
The only way to learn, now, is to buy a gun and learn by yourself, completely on your own. No one can help you, since they can’t touch your gun and you can’t touch any of theirs. This law is intended to isolate us, to prevent us from spreading ideas, knowledge, information, culture. This law, played out of over years and decades, means that gun owners are now likely limited to two pools of people in the future:
1) The children of gun owning families.
2) The rare, entirely self-motivated individual who is willing to trek into an unknown world completely alone.
Played over years and decades, this is how you slowly disarm a population without getting substantial complaints from that population.
The only way we maintain our 2nd Amendment rights is to fight for them. The only people who will fight for them are people who understand firearms, and the reasons for owning them, well enough to be willing to fight. The only way most people come to an understanding of this is if someone else taught them or helped them to understand.
Now, virtually all non-familial acts of teaching and culture-sharing are illegal. In the long-term cultural sense, I-594 is the single most dangerous piece of gun control legislation ever conceived.
It makes the NFA and the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban look childishly simplistic by comparison. This time, they didn’t ban certain mechanical or cosmetic features. They didn’t ban full-auto or select fire or short-barrel rifles.
This time, they banned a culture, our culture.
If this stands or spreads, we are done for.
As to the last sentence in the Reddit post, it has spread to the state of Nevada. This was not unexpected as a universal background check bill passed the Nevada legislature last year but was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV). Everytown President John Feinblatt said as much after I-594 passed calling it just the beginning. The group fought off an attempt by the Nevada Firearms Coalition to keep it off the 2016 ballot. The only change made to the wording of the ballot initiative was make sure voters knew the penalties for violations would be a gross misdemeanor for first offenses and a felony conviction for the second offense. This is identical to Washington State's I-594.
Sebastian has some ideas on how to fight off Bloomberg on the ballot initiatives. I haven't digested all of it yet but it sure has set off a storm of comments.
David Codrea notes that the effort in Nevada was something he warned about last year. Back then, David did some investigative digging into the Nevada effort and found the fingerprints of Bloomberg all over it. Unfortunately, not enough people listened at the time.
Part 2 of this post will be an effort to identify future targets of Bloomberg's opportunism.