Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Anti-Gunners Hope to Seize the Initiative in the Battle for Your Rights

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The 2014 elections were a huge win for the Second Amendment. Gun owners played a key role in electing new pro-gun state legislators, governors, congressional representatives and senators. Without that effort, we could have been facing a nightmare combination of a President Barack Obama hell-bent on advancing his extreme agenda—regardless of the Constitution—and weaker support in Congress for our right to bear arms.

Instead, we have a chance to stop him from winning passage of new federal gun restrictions, and the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) will be at the forefront of the fight to do just that. But even though we just completed an expensive and hard-fought election, we already are facing huge challenges for 2016. Of course, we have a presidential race coming, and our hard-won pro-gun leadership in the U.S. Senate is threatened. Now, our opponents have embraced another way to attack our rights—ballot initiatives—and they are pulling out all the stops to use this tool in new and damaging ways.

In 2014, the pro-gun side won nearly every contested race. But there was one exception. The voters of Washington state, after being bombarded with misleading information, passed Initiative 594 (I-594). I-594 radically expands the requirements for background checks to the point that even lending a gun to a friend for a few hours is illegal without fees and government paperwork (and registration, in the case of handguns). The people of Washington state are just starting to learn the real negative impact of this ill-conceived proposal.

But our opponents are focusing on that victory as an opportunity and are looking to expand that game plan to other states that have the ballot initiative process.

So, what is a “ballot initiative?” Simply put, it is a provision included in the constitutions of 24 states that allows the voters—or more commonly, national organizations that purport to represent the voters—to put a legislative proposal on the ballot. The rules and procedures vary from state to state, but in general, supporters of a proposal have a set amount of time to gather a specific number of signatures to win inclusion of their proposal on the ballot. Those signatures must be verified as authentic, and they must come from registered voters in that state.

Fourteen of the 24 states that have an initiative process provide that if the requisite number of signatures are collected, the issue automatically goes on the ballot. The remaining states provide that the legislature must first take action.

A ballot initiative is what ushered in the private transfer ban in Washington state. And our opponents think they have found a way to win when they regularly fail to convince elected legislators to do their bidding.

Anti-gunners know that legislators, armed with accurate and reliable information about firearm issues, usually reject their radical agenda, but uninformed—or, more accurately, misinformed—voters are often more vulnerable to emotional, but baseless, arguments that are the stock and trade of the anti-gun movement.

At the forefront of these campaigns are the groups that billionaire ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has funded with millions of dollars. This past election, he spent more than $50 million, and we can safely assume he will spend even more in 2016.

We must be vigilant in gathering information about the initiative process in our states, and we must be aware of the proposals that are being advanced through this method. We have to be on the lookout for people gathering signatures. We have to know what the issues really are and refuse to sign any petition to put any anti-gun proposal on the ballot. And we need to make sure our friends, family and others are fully informed about the truth of these proposals and also know not to be too quick to sign on the dotted line.

NRA-ILA is already chasing down the information on proposed initiatives and will make that information known in our magazines and on NRAILA.org.

This is the challenge we face. But it is also our opportunity. If we all do the work now, and over the next 18 months, we can make a huge impact on the future of our Second Amendment rights. NRA-ILA is ready to do more than we ever have, but we need the active help of every gun owner in America. With that support, we can win another huge victory in November 2016.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Chris W. Cox
Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald, many of the lower U.S. courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s outrageous opinion by ...

Georgia: House Committee Passes Multiple Pro-Gun Bills to the Floor

Monday, February 27, 2017

Georgia: House Committee Passes Multiple Pro-Gun Bills to the Floor

Today, the Georgia House Public Safety and Homeland Security passed three important pieces of legislation that will soon be considered by the full Georgia House of Representatives.

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

SB 898, sponsored by state Senator Ronald Kouchi (D-8), would permanently strip an individual of their Second Amendment rights, not based on a criminal conviction or mental adjudication, but based on a quasi-criminal proceeding.  The ...

Washington: Anti-Gun Legislation Could be Heard on the Floor Next Week

Friday, February 24, 2017

Washington: Anti-Gun Legislation Could be Heard on the Floor Next Week

As early as next week, the Washington House of Representatives could hear and vote on House Bill 1122 and House Bill 1483.

Taxachusetts: Bay State Politician Wants to Soak Gun Owners

News  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Taxachusetts: Bay State Politician Wants to Soak Gun Owners

In an attempt to further punish Massachusetts’s beleaguered gun owners, on January 20, Massachusetts State Senator Cynthia S. Creem filed SD.1884. The legislation includes a raft of gun control measures, not the least of which ...

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Petition for Supreme Court Review in Peruta Right-to-Carry Case

Friday, February 24, 2017

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Petition for Supreme Court Review in Peruta Right-to-Carry Case

In January, California Rifle & Pistol Association attorneys filed a petitionwith the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review the NRA-supported case of Peruta v. California, which seeks to confirm that the Second ...

News  

Monday, February 27, 2017

NRA Backs Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill in U.S. Senate

Bill Would Eliminate Confusing Patchwork of State Laws Fairfax, Va.— On behalf of its five-million members, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded the introduction of S. 446, The Constitutional Concealed Carry ...

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) Hides from his Radical Anti-gun Record

News  

Friday, February 24, 2017

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) Hides from his Radical Anti-gun Record

With the Democratic National Committee’s officers election set for Saturday, earlier this week CNN hosted a debate featuring the candidates vying to be the next DNC chair. During the debate, CNN’s Dana Bash confronted Rep. ...

A Fourth Circuit Trifecta: New Rulings Confirm Need for Judges who Respect Second Amendment

News  

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Fourth Circuit Trifecta: New Rulings Confirm Need for Judges who Respect Second Amendment

Anyone still unconvinced about the importance of the courts and the need for justices who support Second Amendment rights had plenty of food for thought this month, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ...

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Praises Legacy Media in Interview with British Press

News  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Praises Legacy Media in Interview with British Press

Citing Justice John Paul Stevens’s retirement at age 90, the U.S. Supreme Court’s reigning liberal icon, 83-year-old Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg, told a BBC interviewer that she still “has a way to go” in her ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.