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

As NRA's chief lobbyist and principal political strategist, Chris W. Cox oversees nine NRA Institute for Legislative Action divisions – Federal Affairs, State & Local Affairs, Public Affairs, Research & Information, Grassroots, Hunting/Conservation/Wildlife, Office of Legislative Counsel, External Affairs (International) and Fiscal. He also serves as president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which conducts non-partisan voter registration and citizen education, and chairman of NRA Country, which brings country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the ...

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

Inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde (“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess”), Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced two new sweeping gun control bills, with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Rep. ...

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On January 3rd, Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.8th) introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which simply allows lawful firearm carriers from any state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state. The bill ...

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

On Thursday, the NRA-supported case Peruta v. California took an important step towards restoring the right to bear arms in California.  The plaintiffs in the case, California gun owners and the California Rifle and Pistol ...

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Today, Senate Bill 12, legislation eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry, passed the Senate without amendment, by a 13-10 vote.  SB 12 will now go to the House of ...

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, January 18, the Senate Courts of Justice is expected to hear and possibly vote on several firearm-related bills.

Increase in Violent Crime: National Trend Driven by Local Politics?

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Increase in Violent Crime: National Trend Driven by Local Politics?

The FBI released its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report earlier this week and the bad news is that violent crime increased for the second consecutive year.

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed the Public Building Security Act, pro-gun legislation that amended the Personal and Family Protection Act. 

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

News  

Friday, December 16, 2016

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

Friday, January 13, 2017

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

With the 2017 Indiana legislative session underway, we are happy to report that a number of pro-gun bills have been filed.

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.