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Winning the Universal Background Check War

Gun control advocates are using the ballot initiative process to take away your rights. Federal preemption is the only way to stop them. BearingArms.com's Bob Owens reports for the January issue of Townhall Magazine. 


Democracy is dangerous. Democracy is mob rule.

Democracy is the serially uninformed and easily led being suckered into voting against their own best interests by deep-pocketed grifters who are looking out only for themselves.

Our Founding Fathers knew this shortcoming of democracy well, and instead of a democracy, they created for us a constitutional republic. The system of government they crafted for us is a carefully designed system that slows rushes to judgment, encourages debate, and gives us the best possible chance to avoid self-inflicted wounds. As a result, it typically takes a great deal of time for citizens to hurt themselves significantly under the government the Founders gave us.

Unfortunately, not everyone remembers the dangers of true democracy, and several states, mostly in the west, have allowed mob rule to have its say in affairs of state, via the referendum or ballot initiative process.

Ballot measures bypass the carefully designed deliberative model, and terrifyingly favor the deep-pocketed individuals who can throw the largest amount of money into advertising their cause in the best possible light.

Put bluntly, these referendum processes allow even the most blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable laws to be bought by the highest bidder.

We saw the dangerous nature of this corrupted system put on high-profile display in Washington state in November as a handful of billionaires led by Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Michael Bloomberg spent more than $10 million to champion and successfully pass Initiative 594.


I-594 was strongly opposed by Washington police and sheriffs who found the murky 18-page referendum to be a massive imposition on the rights of law-abiding citizens and a significant drain on already scarce law enforcement resources.

But the low-information voters of Washington didn’t hear the warnings of law enforcement officers who couldn’t spend millions to warn the citizenry that their rights were being taken away.

Instead, this small group of liberty-despising billionaires invested millions in crafting an advertising blitz built around the false narrative that all they wanted was a universal background check bill to reduce violent crime.

The fictional narrative overwhelmed the protests of law enforcement, law-abiding hunters, firearm collectors, and target shooters who noted that the language was crafted to create a de facto gun registry, which was I-594’s real purpose.

The powerful money machine of these billionaires convincingly swayed the majority of people who were too dim or lazy to read I-594 to vote for it.

They have broken the system.

This model of exploiting the ballot initiative process appears to be the new plan of attack for gun control groups. All states with such a process seem ripe for targeting by gun control groups.

Nevadans for Background Checks, a suspect Bloomberg-backed gun control group, was able to stealthily collect thousands of signatures and may have been able to collect enough to put an I-594 clone on the 2016 ballot to create a de facto gun registry in that state as well. Other states are likely targeted for similar stealth campaigns as well.


Fair or foul, “universal” background checks are incredibly popular among voters and will be implemented in some way, shape, or form.

Our best hope to counter the draconian initiatives at the state level would be a pre-emptive attack at the federal level that allows for background checks, but doesn’t tie the background checks to the de facto registration of specific firearms, which is the real goal of the background check initiatives pushed by gun control groups.

At the state level, concealed carry permits often serve a dual function of being both a carry permit and a background check mechanism valid for the duration of the permit, independent of firearm registration.

A national concealed carry reciprocity bill could be written to not only recognize a concealed carry permit issued in any state as a permit recognized in every state, but to also serve a dual role as a background check tied to permits, and not to specific transfers.

Federal preemption would override the attempts of gun banners to create a registry and take away their Trojan horse of background checks.

We’re going to have to fight this battle. We may as well attempt to win it.

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