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: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Oregon: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 719A.  Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A will create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could be obtained by a law enforcement ...

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

At the request of Public Health, Seattle & King County, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries has released a “first draft” of a new statewide regulatory scheme targeting lead and lead exposure in the workplace. ...

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Award-winning journalist John Stossel published a report this week that provides a timely reminder that – nearly a decade after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller – law abiding gun ...

Czechs File Suit Challenging EU Gun Controls

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Czechs File Suit Challenging EU Gun Controls

This week, the Czech Republic made good on their promise to pursue a legal challenge to the European Union’s (EU) onerous new changes to the European Firearms Directive.

Guns Trickle in to Australia Turn-in

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Guns Trickle in to Australia Turn-in

U.S. policymakers, NRA-ILA, and even some of the most ardent anti-gun researchers, have long understood that gun turn-in programs do not hinder criminal violence. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the Land Down Under is currently in ...

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

Thursday, August 17, 2017

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

On Monday, August 21, the California Legislature will reconvene from Summer recess.  Below is the status on the firearm-related bills still moving through the legislative process.  Please send an email to your state legislators respectfully urging ...

Texas Professor Trades Geography for Drama to Protest Campus Carry in the Lone Star State

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Texas Professor Trades Geography for Drama to Protest Campus Carry in the Lone Star State

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 3 Americans believe that colleges and universities exert a negative effect on the country. When respondents are grouped by political party, ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Brits Vs. Guns

News  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Brits Vs. Guns

Will a society that has long turned its back on armed self-defense ever be able to find its way back?

Repudiated at the Polls, National Democrats Continue to Push Gun Control

Gun Laws  

Second Amendment  

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Repudiated at the Polls, National Democrats Continue to Push Gun Control

Recent weeks have seen a heated debate involving national Democratic Party figures over how to approach the issue of abortion in a manner that would allow the party to be more competitive in portions of ...

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.