Following in the footsteps of Bill Gates, Paul Allen and other well-heeled businessmen, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $1 million to a universal background check initiative in Washington state on Aug. 29.
The pro-gun control measure is known as I-594, and would require background checks for all private transfers, including loans and gifts to friends, neighbors and in-laws. Moreover, it would require data collection on handgun transfers.
As noted in a previous GunsAmerica article, I-594 has the support of billionaires and millionaires, but it faces tough opposition from grassroots pro-gun advocates who are backing a competing measure in the November election, Initiative I-591, which protects background check uniformity and stops the state from creating a universal background check registry.
Leading the charge for I-591 is Alan Gottlieb, the chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who wasn’t to pleased with this latest development.
“It’s looking more like ‘Every Billionaire for Gun Control’ wants to buy this election,” said Gottlieb in a press release. “Voters should be very concerned when wealthy elitists like Bloomberg believe that their civil rights are for sale.”
“If they can buy your gun rights today,” he questioned, “what other rights will they go after tomorrow? Maybe your right to drink soda, or decide what you want to eat. Or maybe they will try to buy your right to petition the government, or your freedom to assemble and associate with like-minded friends and neighbors.”
Millions and millions of dollars have been rolling in for I-594. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates gave $1 million, Paul Allen gave $500,000; now, with Bloomberg’s contribution, the total pot for I-594 is close to $7 million.
“The state’s largest and most respected law enforcement organizations, representing more than 7,500 rank-and-file officers, oppose I-594,” Gottlieb noted. “The billionaires are trying to drown the opposition with a flood of money. In addition to Bloomberg, billionaires Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer and Nick Hanauer have invested small fortunes in their juggernaut campaign to buy the election.
“No one elected these people to control your life,” Gottlieb continued. “That is especially true with Bloomberg. I’ll remind every citizen of the state that you have a vote in this election, and Michael Bloomberg doesn’t, because he doesn’t live in Washington. He just wants to buy it.”