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
Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Heads to Senate Floor

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Heads to Senate Floor

Yesterday, on the deadline for policy bills to move out of committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 719 with its -5 amendment.  Because a number of bills were effectively dead for ...

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

News  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with representatives of the UCAN organization to make the case for further gun controls to combat the city’s violent crime. Chicago’s WLS reported that Emanuel used the opportunity ...

Pennsylvania: Firearms Preemption Bill Heads to the House Floor Next Week

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pennsylvania: Firearms Preemption Bill Heads to the House Floor Next Week

Today, April 19, the House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 671 by a 20-5 vote. HB 671 is scheduled to go before the full House for consideration next week.  Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the gun ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

On Tuesday April 18, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed SB 497 by a party-line vote and will be assigned to the Senate Appropriations committee for further consideration.  On Monday, April 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent ...

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Yesterday, the state Assembly passed Assembly Bill 7 by a vote of 44 to 29.   AB 424 was not considered during yesterday’s floor session, however it remains eligible for a vote at any time.  

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

Early this month, members of the gun-control group Prosecutors Against Gun Violence met at a “Manhattan Summit” and took the time to express their dismay and alarm over federal bills proposing national concealed carry reciprocity. ...

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

For 2017, A Historic NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

For 2017, A Historic NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

For the past decade, NRA-ILA has sponsored leadership forums that have allowed our members to hear directly from national leaders.  Next Friday, that tradition continues and the line up of speakers is top notch.

Washington: Governor Inslee Signs Bill for Permit Renewal Notices

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Washington: Governor Inslee Signs Bill for Permit Renewal Notices

Today, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1100.  Sponsored by state Representative David Taylor (R-15), HB 1100 creates a renewal notice postcard for concealed pistol licenses that will be sent out 90 days before the expiration beginning ...

NRA Congratulates Senate for Passing Bill to Expand Self-Defense

News  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NRA Congratulates Senate for Passing Bill to Expand Self-Defense

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) congratulates the Alabama State Senate for passing Senate Bill 24 – a Constitutional Carry bill that would expand the options of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. ...

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.