Support VSSA Advertisers

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why I-594 is Important to Virginia

This November, an important ballot initiative is before the voters of Washington state.  It is known as I-594 and if it passes, it will make the simple act of handing your firearm to a friend at the range, or an instructor handing a firearm to a trainee, a criminal offense.  I-594 is being sold by billionaires like Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates, both of whom have contributed the bulk of the $7million raised by supporters of the initiative, as "universal background checks".  But this proposal spanning 18 pages is much more.
You might ask why Virginians should care about I-594.  Virginia doesn't allow ballot initiatives and one half of the Virginia General Assembly is firmly in pro-rights hands and would never pass such a law.  But for how long will that be the case?  Last week's federal court decision throwing out Virginia's Congressional redistricting could have ripple effects on state legislative districts in the not too distant future.  There are voices in Virginia who want a "non-partisan" commission to undertake the task of redistricting every 10 years.

It is not lost on the pro-rights community that I-594 could just be the start of the trouble.  Washington is being used as a test to see if the model can be used in other states that allow the initiative process.  The forces aligned pushing the bill have far more money than the pro-rights side, not withstanding the claim by the anti-rights folks that the NRA has gobs of money and uses it to beat back "commonsense gun safety proposals."  There has been a small family feud in the pro-rights community, with some in Washington fighting I-594 complaining that the NRA is not spending enough to fight the initiative.  But the NRA's strength has not been its money, it has been an active grassroots, and the NRA has had staff in the state working with those grassroots supporters for months.

As the information is getting out, support for the initative, which stood at over 70% in the spring, is beginning to slip, though a majority of those polled still support it.  Now the NRA is up with a new add that points out that law enforcement are opposed to the measure.
As Sebastian wrote earlier today, let's hope that the ad hits the "low-information" voter and continues to chip away at the support in the final 21 days of the election.  Because if this scheme passes, look for it to come to a state near you.

No comments: