The Other Felons Just Did It More Illegally

Gabby Giffords and her Americans for Responsible Solutions are touting the success of Washington State’s I-594 in stopping felons from purchasing firearms. The 50 felons were attempting to purchase a firearm through a private sale and not through a FFL.

Given the Tweet was published on April 1, I don’t know if this is an April Fools joke on their part or not.

Doing the math which I hope that even Gabby could do, 50 felons divided by 14 months equals 3.57 attempted purchases per month or less than one per week. If that is a measure of success, it is a dumbing down of the meaning of success. All this proves is that 50 felons were stupid enough to try and purchase a firearm from someone who submitted the sale to a background check. No word on how many sales were made on street corners of stolen guns being sold by criminal gangs.

According to the story that accompanies her Tweet, not one felon was prosecuted for attempting to purchase a firearm.

2015 violent crime statistics for Washington State have not been released by the FBI and should not be expected until mid-year or later.

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Washington State’s I-594 On Vagueness Grounds

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit in Federal court against portions of Washington State’s Initiative 594. The suit charges that the new law infringes on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution as well as on portions of the Washington State Constitution.

They also allege that the new law is so vague that, “a person of ordinary intelligence cannot understand its scope, which renders it subject to arbitrary enforcement.” They go on to add, “The agencies of the State of Washington have so far either disclaimed the responsibility to interpret I-594 or provided interpretations that are so far removed from the language as to be useless.”

The business plaintiffs include the Northwest School of Safety, Puget Sound Security, Inc., Pacific Northwest Association of Investors, and the Firearms Academy of Seattle. The individual plaintiffs include SAF’s Alan Gottlieb, CalGun’s Gene Hoffman, the Gottlieb Revocable Family Living Trust, Andrew Gottlieb, Daryl Lee, CCRKBA’s legislative director Joe Waldron, and Xee Del Real. SAF is also a party to the suit.

The suit names Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General’s Office, and the head of the Washington State Patrol as the defendants. The suit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against the enforcement of I-594’s amendments to RCW 9.41 as it relates to:

non-commercial transfers of firearms to private citizens who are otherwise qualified
to possess firearms, or otherwise enforcing any policies, rules, or procedures prohibiting or
otherwise restricting the non-commercial transfer of firearms to private citizens who are
otherwise qualified to possess firearms.

 The suit entitled Northwest School of Security el al v Ferguson et al is being brought in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. A copy of the complaint can be found here.

The release from SAF is below:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Tacoma, seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of portions of Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure that took effect Dec. 4, alleging that “portions of I-594…are so vague that a person of ordinary intelligence cannot understand their scope,” and that other parts violate the Second Amendment outright.

Joining SAF in this action are the Northwest School of Safety, Puget Sound Security, Inc., the Pacific Northwest Association of Investors, the Firearms Academy of Seattle, six individual citizens including SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb and the Gottlieb Family Trust. They are represented by Seattle attorneys Steven Fogg and David Edwards, and Bellevue attorney Miko Tempski.

Named as defendants are Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, in their official capacities.

“We took this action due to the confusing and arbitrary language and nature of I-594,” Gottlieb explained. “Three of our plaintiffs, including my son, are residents of other states and cannot legally borrow handguns for personal protection while traveling in Washington. Under I-594, all transfers must be done through federally-licensed firearms dealers, but under federal law, dealers cannot legally transfer handguns to residents of other states. I-594 also essentially prohibits our non-resident plaintiffs from storing their own firearms here.

“This measure effectively infringes upon, if not outright prohibits, the exercise of their constitutionally-protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment,” he added.

Gottlieb pointed to a recent directive from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to its volunteer hunter education instructors regarding firearms transfers in class that amount to “straw-man transfers.” The lawsuit also notes that the State Patrol said it could not prove that a change of possession not covered by an I-594 exemption was a “transfer,” making enforcement of the new law “difficult if not impossible.”

“We’re not trying to stop background checks,” Gottlieb said. “We’re taking action against a poorly-written and unconstitutionally vague measure that criminalizes activities that are perfectly legal anywhere else in the country, thus striking at the very heart of a constitutionally-protected, fundamental civil right.”

In Seattle, The Rich Vote For Gun Control But Buy Their Own Cops

I get a lot of emails from the various financial planning publications. Sometimes they are touting a certain mutual fund company and sometimes they are little news stories about HNW individuals. Translating from finance-speak, that means high net worth individuals aka the wealthy.

A story in Financial Advisor about the Seattle wealthy caught my eye yesterday and spurred me to do some research. The gist of the story is that Seattle suffers the top property crime rate in the country and that certain wealthy neighborhoods have taken to hiring a force of off-duty police officers and private security guards to watch over their neighborhood.

After Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote about how the police largely disregarded his family’s repeated calls about car thieves in his neighborhood, a resident of the city’s tony Laurelhurst section dropped him a note.

“I bet if you had been in Laurelhurst, somebody would have come,” the reader wrote. “Your mistake was being in a regular part of town.”

Turns out that Laurelhurst, the neighborhood where Bill Gates was born and lived until about 1994, isn’t completely satisfied with its police protection, either. In fact, it has hired its own security force.

Exasperated with a spate of car break-ins, the neighborhood adopted its strategy from Windermere, an even more exclusive neighborhood directly north, where homeowners pay an annual $575 fee that mostly goes toward having off-duty police and private security guards patrol year-round.

Seattle has the top property crime rate in the country, the Seattle Times reported recently. It’s more than double the Boston area’s rate and almost one-third higher than the rate for the Denver area.

Laurelhurst’s security force consists of off-duty policemen who keep the neighborhood under surveillance six nights per week in five-hour shifts, and also conduct foot patrols when residents are on vacation. One of the city’s off-duty bicycle cops also rides around the neighborhood during the day—something that helps with the now ubiquitous package theft that appears to be a result of faux dog walkers following UPS trucks to their delivery destinations.

Although the off-duty cops wear their official uniforms and carry police radios and firearms, they drive their personal—that is, unmarked—cars. They monitor incoming 911 calls and work with on-duty police officers if there’s an incident.

“We don’t expect them to catch people,” says Brian McMullen, who sits on the neighborhood council and helps oversee the crime program. “We view it as a deterrent.”

Knowing that Seattle and King County provided the base of supported for Washington State’s I-594 gun control initiative, I wondered how these areas voted. Did they jump on the gun control bandwagon along with the majority of Seattle residents? Moreover, how much money did residents of the area donate to the gun control front group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility?

Let’s take the last question first. Residents in these neighborhoods live in the 98105 zip code. Donations to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility totaled $179,305. Donors included Bill Gates, Sr. who gave $500. That $500 contribution by one individual was more than all the donations to the pro-gun group Protect Our Gun Rights combined. Those donations totaled a mere $335. Put in relative terms, pro-gun contributions totaled two-tenths of one percent of the amount donated to the anti-gun forces.

Overall, the vote for I-594 in King County was 74.99% in favor and 25.01% opposed. Statewide, the numbers were 59.27% in favor with 40.73 opposed to more gun control.

So how did the two neighborhoods, Laurelhurst and Windermere, vote? It took some doing but I was able to identify the relevant voting precincts from the election district maps and pull the data from eCanvass file.

Windermere’s eight precincts had a total of 2,101 people vote in I-594 contest. Of these, 1,856 voted yes on I-594. That 88.3% is significantly higher percentage than King County as a whole.

Laurelhurst’s 11 precincts went even higher in their support of I-594. 2,181 or 89.1% of the 2,448 votes cast on the initiative were in favor of it.

I guess if you are sitting in your (multi) million dollar home in Laurelhurst or Windermere with security provided by off-duty police, you don’t really worry how the riff-raff provides for their security. You are protected and they can pretty much go to hell for all you care. So what if it is harder for them to get the tools to protect themselves and their families. You got yours and that is all that matters.

I-594 And The Aftermath – Why Washington State And Who Might Be Next (Pt. 1)

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.

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.

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.

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.

I-594: The Claim And The Reality

Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is the pro-gun control group funded by billionaires that is pushing I-594 in Washington State. This initiative, if passed, would mandate background checks for all sales and transfers.

One of their ads claims that you can buy guns at gun shows and off the Internet with “no questions asked”. The ad shows someone typing in the URL for I have purchased a couple of firearms off of myself over the years. They were either shipped to my local dealer where I had to fill out a Form 4473 and be checked or they were shipped to me directly because it was a firearm considered a curio or relic. I have a C&R FFL.

You can see this ad below:

Steve Urvan, CEO of, took exception to this ad impugning the reputation of his company. In the release below, he points out the reality.

Recently a Washington state gun control lobbying group called The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility published an advertisement and YouTube video that included a scene in which was typed into a browser. The video includes the words “NO QUESTIONS ASKED” and states that criminals who fail background checks can go online and buy guns.

This ad is both misleading the public and impugning the reputation of by depicting our company’s name being typed into a search engine with the direct suggestion that we would enable an illegal transfer of a firearm. This is false and certainly libelous.

As we clearly state on our website, all transactions on are made in full compliance with all federal state, and local laws, using licensed federal firearms dealers as transfer agents. Federal law requires those dealers to run a background check on the buyer. There is a strict compliance system in place and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms audits dealers for compliance.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility obviously did no research when creating this ad. Every listing on the site states, in red letters for emphasis:

“Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder)”.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility needs to act responsibly themselves. We demand that they take down their erroneous ads and videos and apologize to and the voters of Washington State for this irresponsible misrepresentation in the pursuit of their political agenda.

Regarding background checks and specifically I-594, I urge all members to take the time to get out and vote on Tuesday November 4 and defeat anti-gun bills like I-594 and anti-gun legislators. Below are some links you may find useful:

Steve Urvan,

Billionaires Aren’t The Only Ones Pumping Money Into Washington State

I did a post last month detailing all the money being pumped into Washington State in support of the gun control initiative I-594. At that time, five billionaires and one very rich woman from an “old Seattle family” had cumulatively put in almost 75% of the monies in support of the initiative. Since then, Michael Bloomberg, through his Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors, has pumped another $950,000 into the effort along with at least $350,000 from the coterie of billionaires.

It looks like Gabby Giffords and the Space Cowboy (aka Mark Kelly) have gotten involved as well. Through their Americans for Responsible Solutions (sic), they have donated $229,091 for in-kind direct mail services. It is the largest in-kind donation of the campaign. The majority of the other in-kind services is coming from the Win/Win Network (a coalition of unions and left-wing groups) and the True Patriot Network which is run by billionaire Nick Hanauer.

I have to give Washington State kudos for their Public Disclosure Commission reporting system. It is much more up-to-date on contributions that the Federal Election Commission system.

From the Federal Election Commission

Dingy Harry Is Right – Billionaires Are Trying To Buy Democracy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a speech yesterday on the floor of the Senate. It was his first floor speech since the end of the August recess. As The Hill reports it, he said, in part,

“We have had in this country a flood of very, very dark money coming into this nation’s political system,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Radical billionaires are attempting to buy our democracy.”

Reid is correct in his statement – just not in the billionaires to whom he referred. He, of course, was continuing his jihad against the libertarian Koch brothers.

However, if one were to examine the backers of the universal background check initiative in Washington State, I-594, you would come to the conclusion that a gaggle of billionaires was indeed trying to buy “our democracy.”

Examining the public reports from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, one finds that a full 72% of the funding for the anti-gun Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has come from five billionaires (including spouses) plus one very wealthy woman from an “old Seattle family”. In dollar terms, these six have donated $5,171,600 out of the $7,175,542 donated to the anti-gun organization. Small contributions to this gun control ballot initiative total only $63,009 or less than 1% of the total.

So who are these billionaires (or near billionaires), how much have they given individually, what is their estimated net worth, and where do they stand on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in America. Here is the list in order of contributions:

  1. Nick Hanauer, $1,485,000; net worth $1 billion, venture capitalist, Second Avenue Investing
  2. Bill and Melinda Gates, $1,050,000; net worth $72 billion, No. 1 Forbes 400, co-founder Microsoft
  3. Michael Bloomberg*, $1,030,000; net worth $31 billion, No. 10 Forbes 400, founder Bloomberg LP
  4. Connie and Steve Ballmer, $830,000; net worth $18 billion, No. 21 Forbes 400, former CEO Microsoft, owner LA Clippers
  5. Paul Allen, $500,000; net worth $15.8 billion, No 26 Forbes 400, co-founder Microsoft, owner Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers
  6. Ann Pigott Wyckoff, $276,600; net worth est. multi-millions, heiress and daughter of the late Paccar Corporation president Paul Pigott. Paccar manufactures Peterbilt, Kenworth, and Leyland trucks.
To put these contributions into perspective, let’s look at the campaign committee for I-591 which is the other ballot initiative which opposes universal background checks. Protect Our Gun Rights is the campaign committee formed to support I-591. The largest individual (non-organizational) contribution was $1,500 by a Boeing engineer. The primary contributors to Protect Our Gun Rights are the Washington State-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Washington Arms Collectors. This committee has raised a total of $1,121,535 at last report.
As Dave Workman, the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner, put it, this is a billionaire bombardment and he is correct. So when Dingy Harry speaks of “radical billionaires attempting to buy our democracy”, he just has the wrong set of billionaires in mind. It isn’t the Koch brothers, it is the Hanauers, the Gates, the Allens, the Ballmers, and the Bloombergs who plan to dominate the TV airwaves with their appeals to low information voters in an effort to impose their will on the people of Washington State.
*Bloomberg’s contribution was funneled through MAIG and Everytown for Gun Safety (sic).