Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, donated $1 million to a background check effort underway in Washington state.
The Microsoft co-founder gave the money to support Initiative 594, a measure that would expand background checks to all private firearm transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.
Gates’s donation follows that of his old Microsoft cohort Paul Allen, who gave $500,000 in recent weeks and brings the total pot for I-594 to almost $6 million.
Even though I-594 has the support of billionaires and millionaires, it faces tough opposition from grassroots pro-gun advocates who are backing a competing measure, 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 spoke about the Gates donation in an email to GunsAmerica.
“If the background check measure I-594 is really so popular why are billionaires now giving 6 and 7 figure donations to it?,” Gottlieb asked.
“Of course Bill Gates can give a million dollars and still afford armed security for his family,” he continued. “All of our grassroots donors are eking by on a living wage and can only give $10 or $25 donations. That makes it hard for us to win when the other side can buy an election.”