Anti-Gun Groups Spend Tens of Millions to Pass Ballot Initiatives in Four States

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo: Financial Times)

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo: Financial Times)

Residents of four states have another reason to get out and vote in this year’s election.

Maine, California, Nevada, and Washington all include initiatives on next week’s ballots to tighten gun control laws, the Public Broadcasting Service reports. In a departure from previous elections, no states have included initiatives to expand gun rights.

The ballot initiative strategy marks a turning point in gun control efforts in the United States. Ballot measures are often determined by money—whichever side spends the most on print, radio, and online advertisements usually wins. PBS reports that anti-gun groups are outspending their opponents in all four states.

In Maine and Nevada, voters will determine whether or not to mandate background checks for all private firearms transfers. A group funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent millions in those two states. According to, $4,349,816 was raised in support of the measure in Maine and $15,709,488 was raised in Nevada. Opponents, meanwhile, only raised and $50,347 in Maine and $435,618 in Nevada.

In Washington, the ballot initiative would allow judges to seize firearms from individuals they deem to be a threat. The police, a family member, or a “household member” would simply have to convince a judge that a person is dangerous for his or her constitutional rights to be revoked. Nearly $4 million has been raised in support of the measure; $0 has been raised against it.

Predictably, California’s measure is the most draconian. Proposition 063 would, among other things, require anyone who purchases ammunition to first pass a background check. Over $4.5 million was raised in support of the measure, while $657,036 was raised in opposition.

Though massively outspent by out-of-state billionaires, the pro-gun community isn’t going down without a fight. Charles Rumsey III is the secretary of Penobscot County Conservation Association in Bangor, Maine, and his organization has been opposing the measure to expand background checks. “It’s a restriction on the freedom of the good guys,” he told PBS, voicing concerns that simply borrowing a rifle could place him in violation of the law.

The NRA has also funded opposition efforts in Maine and Nevada, but they haven’t been able to keep up with the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Seattle-based entrepreneurs like Nicolas Hanauer, who donated $1 million to the campaigns in Nevada, Maine, and Washington.

The numbers speak for themselves: if the pro-gun community wants to keep their constitutional rights and stop out-of-state fat cats from pushing their agenda, they’ll have to show up on Nov. 8. The gun rights movement has always been about the grassroots, and now is the time for those men and women to take a stand.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Boss November 5, 2016, 1:44 am

    If the ammo check law is passed, I think everyone should go buy a box of 22lr every day.

  • Walker November 4, 2016, 11:46 pm

    Bloomberg , the clintons, the Vice President & president , bernie sanders & most democrats are progressive socialist= communist. Follow the money.

  • Derwurst November 4, 2016, 4:44 pm

    Bloomberg cant control the sales and possessions of illegal firearms in NYC because he never enforced the 1899 Sullivan Act and allowed the criminals to plea bargain their way out of spending a second of jail time. If Blo0mberg cant fix the illegal firearms sold on the street in NYC how can he be expected to fix the rest of the USA Faulty Logic I say and typical liberal logic ignored again

  • Leighton Cavendish November 4, 2016, 12:34 pm

    nobody is going to be able to control private sales…not illegal ones anyway…it would be like trying to monitor illegal drug sales
    might work if it was free for people to do it…but criminals will bypass it like they do now (have friends or family buy for them…steal them…etc)
    as for ammo…there is no border check between states…have friends bring it…go yourself…
    getting ridiculous
    I expect if Hillary is elected that these measures would be implemented by executive action nation-wide…along with import restrictions/bans on ammo and guns…domestic restrictions on magazines and ammo…whatever she can do to eliminate/bypass the 2nd without taking it the legal route.

  • Mister Ronald November 4, 2016, 9:58 am

    This is a great reason to vote for Donald Trump even if you personally don’t like him.
    Hillary Clinton is a puppet of Michael Bloomberg and you will not only lose your right to own a gun but will not be allowed to buy a big gulp at 7/11 or a 24 ounce soda
    Always keep in mind that if you decide to vote 3rd. party or a stupid write -in that it would just be like giving your vote to Hillary Clinton. (DON”T DO IT) Donald Trump is still our best choice. Any 3rd. party or write-in don’t stand a chance at all of winning so don’t waste your vote on one.

  • Jim Ray November 4, 2016, 7:54 am

    So, if this law is passed in CA you will have to pass a background check in order to buy ammo? So what happens if a Californian goes to visit a friend or relative for Christmas in AZ and they give you a case of shotgun shells for a Christmas present? Was a felony just committed? This is ridiculous. What is going to stop someone from driving to a bordering state to buy ammo?

    I personally own my own reloading equipment. If I move to CA will all of my reloading equipment be taken away? I assume if you can’t buy ammo you are not supposed to make your own ammo either. Will you need to pass a background check to buy brass, powder, or projectiles for loading your own ammo?

  • Tom Horn November 4, 2016, 6:21 am

    “In Washington, the ballot initiative would allow judges to seize firearms from individuals they deem to be a threat. The police, a family member, or a “household member” would simply have to convince a judge that a person is dangerous for his or her constitutional rights to be revoked.”

    Boy! What could go wrong here? Your soon to be ex-girlfriend decides you’re a danger, and bye-bye 2A rights. Guilty, until proven innocent. Oh,wait, they didn’t say anything about being able to defend yourself in court. I guess just guilty.

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