Follow the Money: Anti-gun Ballot Measures Succeed in Three States


Gun control czar Michael Bloomberg spent millions of dollars on the 2016 election. (Photo: AP)

Tuesday’s election was an historic victory for the pro-gun community. Trump’s success, combined with Republican control of both the House and the Senate, all but guarantees the protection of Second Amendment rights for at least the next four years and potentially for generations to come.

But it wasn’t a complete victory.

As we reported last week, the anti-gun industry spent tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to pass ballot initiatives in four states: Maine, Washington, Nevada, and California. While Maine residents rejected the gun control measure, gun rights took a major blow in the remaining states.

First, the good news. Maine’s ballot measure would have expanded the background check requirement to all private sales. According to, a Michael Bloomberg-funded group raised $4,349,816 in support of the measure while opponents only managed to raise $50,347. Despite this massive disparity, the Second Amendment prevailed—but only by the narrowest of margins. Fifty-two percent of voters rejected the measure while 48 percent voted in favor.

The spread in Nevada was even closer, but the Second Amendment community there was not so fortunate. Nevada was voting to expand background checks as well, though their measure exempted immediate family members from the requirement. Voters approved the measure with 50.4 percent voting in favor and 49.6 voting against. That .8 percent difference represents less than 10,000 voters, despite the fact that pro-gun proponents were outspent by over $15 million.

In Washington and California, Bloomberg’s money made a more obvious impact. Over seventy percent of Washingtonians voted to allow the courts to unilaterally seize firearms from individuals they deem to be a threat. Police, family members, or “household members” simply have to convince a judge a person is dangerous for his or her constitutional rights to be revoked.

As per usual, Californians were voting on a full slate of measures, the worst of which required background checks on the purchase of ammunition. Over sixty-two percent of voters approved the measure.

The anti-gun industry has been defeated at every level of governance. From the presidency to Congress to state legislatures, voters have overwhelmingly sided with the Second Amendment. Seeing this reality, Bloomberg and crew have adopted a new strategy, the success of which we’ve seen in Nevada, Washington, and California.

Money determines the success of ballot measures. In these three states, the pro-Second Amendment community was outspent by a combined $23 million. That money went to advertisements and PR campaigns designed to manipulate and misinform the public, and the strategy worked.

Tuesday’s electoral victory is cause for celebration but not for inaction. The anti-gun industry isn’t giving up—they’re just changing the scene of engagement. If we want to maintain our Second Amendment rights, we’ll have to meet them on this new battlefield.

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.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Scott Syverson November 18, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Just because a referendum passes doesn’t make it legally viable. A US constitutionally protected right cannot be abrogated by a localized consensus. Especially without due process, such as that enacted in Washington where a judge makes a determination with little or no input from the accused. Look for defeat of the Washington measure in the courts. The left keeps obtaining empty victories that cannot be sustained in a constitutional republic. Let them keep wasting their money.

  • Ks-Hunter November 18, 2016, 5:54 am

    This is why support for both the NRA, that operates at the national level with a broad focus, and your local state 2nd amendment lobby group need to be supported. The Kansas state rifle association is one of the best examples in recent history of the effectiveness of a locally controlled 2nd amendment group. Find yours or create one like it. Any time money is spent on a local level by the people it directly impacts it doubles the power by tying a local voter with politicians that are held accountable or voted out and replaced with ones that are.

  • Patriot November 13, 2016, 8:12 pm

    For whatever reason, the majority of voters in California have a screwed up opinion of Constitutional rights. The voters are also screwed up and do not know how to elect the people that will restore Constitutional rights. At this time, California seems to be a lost cause and the people in other states do not believe California is capable of returning to the American way of life. Many people in California must be miserable living in a state that has voters who are not able to understand the situation of state government control and the politicians who have terrible judgement and are doing all they can do to insure their own good life at taxpayer expense. I no longer have any confidence in the ability and effort of the people to return to the American way of life.

    • DaveGinOly November 14, 2016, 8:29 pm

      There is a secessionist movement in CA, being led by people who aren’t happy with the rate at which they state is being turned into a socialist Utopia. I believe CA, like any other state, has a right to secede. I just want to know – How can we give them a push?

  • Scott November 11, 2016, 9:34 pm

    Bloomberg prays on the ignorance of voters, and times his entrance just right when no one is watching.
    Something to think about……….

    The Estonian government is afraid Vladimir Putin might be getting a bit too big for his britches. After Russia’s incursions into Ukraine in 2014, the Estonian Defense League began to wonder which small nation the Russians might target next.
    They knew their tiny, 6,000 man army would be no match for the mighty Russian military, so they decided to take a page from the conflicts in the Middle East and train their own army of insurgents.
    The New York Times reported last week that the Defense League has started hosting a series of competitions meant to train its citizenry in guerilla warfare. Volunteers learn how to use weapons, identify medicinal herbs, avoid capture, survive in the wilderness, and make improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
    “The guerrilla activity should start on occupied territory straight after the invasion,” said Brig. Gen. Meelis Kiili, the commander of the Estonian Defense League. “If you want to defend your country, we train you and provide conditions to do it in the best possible way.”
    “Partisan war is our way,” added Jaan Vokk, a retired corporal with the Estonian Army. “We cannot equal their armor. We have to group in small units and do a lot of destruction of their logistics convoys. We needle them wherever we can.”
    Even more important than these “military sport” competitions is Estonia’s renewed emphasis on arming its citizenry. No one is quite sure how many firearms the government has dispersed, but the Defense League told the Times it has “stepped up the pace of the program” since the Ukraine crisis began.
    “The best deterrent is not only armed soldiers, but armed citizens, too,” said Gen. Kiili.
    In this way, the Estonians might understand the importance of the Second Amendment better than certain members of the Supreme Court. The Framers of the U.S. Constitution included the Second Amendment as a defense against tyranny. Noah Webster put it like this:
    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
    The Founders believed that an armed citizenry was an essential ingredient of a free society. These armed citizens had just defeated a much larger British force, and Noah Webster knew those same citizens would guard against tyranny from the United States government as well.
    But what about today? The firepower at the disposal of modern-day governments is astronomically greater than that of the Red Coats in the eighteenth century. There’s no way Joe American with his AR-15 can stand against a Hellfire missile. Right?
    Wrong. Joe Bob isn’t alone. There are millions and millions of gun owners in the United States, more than enough patriotic Americans to make any kind of invasion or military takeover virtually impossible. One needs to look no further than Estonia — or the Middle East — to understand how destructive an armed citizenry can be.
    The Second Amendment is far from obsolete. A foreign invasion or a tyrannical takeover might seem unlikely today, but what about 100 years from now? By fighting for the Second Amendment today, we may be empowering our great-great-grandchildren to resist those that would destroy the nation we hold dear.

  • Audrey November 11, 2016, 12:08 pm

    The only reason it passed in Nevada is because of Vegas. They are too close to California and Democratic. If you look at the map you will see the rest of Nevada voted against it. It should be repealed.

    • Larry November 11, 2016, 2:28 pm

      The only counties that voted for Clinton were in Vegas & Reno. The entire state otherwise was strongly red but Clinton still won. In Missouri, with over 100 counties, only four counties went for Clinton but she still lost by less than 10%. If only property owners & those employed (people with skin in the game) were allowed to vote, the Dems wouldn’t get elected for anything, even dog catcher. We would have the same result if no one on the welfare rolls voted.

      • Les November 11, 2016, 4:42 pm

        I have long said voting rights should be suspended for welfare recipients. People that are not employed should not lose their vote–unless they go on public assistance. Now, be prepared for liberals to cry racism.

  • John E November 11, 2016, 12:05 pm

    Its time for CAExit. They are just to freaking messed up.

    The question I have and will send to my senators and representitives is how are they going to do the back ground checks. If the plan to use the FBI back ground checks like is done for firearms then Californial needs to be prepared to put up the money for the increased volume of checks. I for one am unwilling to pay a cent for their assinine unconstitutional laws.

    It is time for them to go. CAExit. Push it. They are beyond the point of recovery.

    • Fred November 11, 2016, 2:07 pm

      Breifly. The federal DOJ would not allow several investigations into corruption in the California capitol over the past 8 years. With the removal of that protection fast approaching, the corruption of California Dem. control be reveiled and justice will be delivered. I have confidence that the DOJ & the FBI, with those constraints removed, will reopen cases and pursue new cases here in California. Also, if one removes the customary 4% voter fraud, the ‘illegal alien’ vote, along with whatever felon vote the dems paid felons to vote their ballot – those measures would not have been passed. Some of us don’t just pick up run from the homes and business we created. We stay, we fight and where possible, we resist. I would hope, that in the coming years, all the California hating would die down and support nationwide from our NRA membership brother & sisterhood of constitutionalists – would please present a united front against assaults on anybody’s constitutional rights, anywhere in this country. Perhaps even support, march, send money to the California groups fighting the civil rights abusers head on – here on ground zero in California. I am looking forward to your support.

  • BobT November 11, 2016, 8:45 am

    No surprise here, we have known for years that these states tend to lean toward Communism, and there are more, all of the New England states and as far down as Maryland and DC. And what are these states Politics DEMOCRATIC ! They like it if they can scream Racism or some other insane attack on people, but the fact that they are attempting to discriminate doesn’t seem to bother the people from the States, otherwise they would oust the MORONS.

  • Joe McHugh November 11, 2016, 6:24 am

    I’ll say it right now, there is nothing wrong with background checks for citizens who want to purchase a firearm. I am a benefactor member of the National Rifle Association, (NRA), and I can assure one and all that the NRA would enthusiastically support “background checks” across the land with one proviso. Any such check must be limited to ensuring that the prospective gun buyer is not a violent criminal, or a person that was adjudged to be a dangerous psychotic.

    Question: Why is the Federal and state governments so interested in the details of the firearm transaction? What possible purpose does the recording of the serial number of the firearm on Federal form # 4473 serve? “Crime fighting”? Don’t make me laugh! Call me crazy but I think that most criminals ignore gun laws when they plan to rob a bank with their black market gun.

    I’m almost sure that the Founding Fathers didn’t want violent criminals or homicidal maniacs to possess firearms. But they did declare that the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed. They wanted the people to have a means to resist an abusive government. I’m also pretty sure that the Founders did not want such a government to know who had firearms, and who didn’t.

    • Linehand November 15, 2016, 8:00 pm

      Well, in times past the “Crazies” with guns just got hunted down and …….well you know the rest. What we really need in our country today isn’t more (stricter) laws, it’s a need for a real deterrent to crime (lawlessness). Which practically means, capitol punishment. At the very least public humiliation, for crimes that don’t involve loss of life. 24 hrs in the stocks for speeding would slow most reasonable people down. Just sayin’

  • Grant November 11, 2016, 3:49 am

    The having someone say you are a threat is unfair others can use it out of spite or just for a power play to screw someone over . The same already happens with domestic violence. Unbelivable

  • Randal Koebler November 11, 2016, 3:47 am

    Just where is all of our money going that we send to the NRA. They may not be able to match Bloomberg, but come on, how about a little effort. Only 50,000 dollars in Maine.

    • matthew November 11, 2016, 11:14 am

      Exactly… this is is why im not a member. I cant support another lobby even though they are literally our only one if they cant produce results.

    • Art Gopfert November 11, 2016, 11:51 am

      Maine received 50K and they defeated Bloomberg’s millions. WA state got Nada (nothing) from the NRA so not one opposing view was seen on local news and that was really disappointing, because out here in the liberal state of WA, you have to tell the people (pawns) what to do and how to think. So if they don’t see an opposing viewpoint, most herd like sheep.
      Bloomberg can not be stopped until the people are able hear another viewpoint. (the truth) Come on NRA, help WA state. I pay my dues.

  • Dustin Eward November 11, 2016, 2:50 am

    Good luck with that… I’ve been watching this mess progress for 30 years. Gun owners, as much as I love them, are simply too stupid to find the battlefield, much less put up a fight…

    • matthew November 11, 2016, 11:16 am

      This and our almost unilateral knee jerk reactions make us look bad. Ive always been able to reason with anti-gunners and help them understand guns are our right and put food on my table. we need to be more willing to get out and convince these people the media paints guns and gun crimes in an evil light. look at what the media has done for mass shootings.

    • Art Gopfert November 11, 2016, 12:03 pm

      People watch the heavily biased news media. Money buys media news and advertising time. (Bloomberg) If no opposing view is seen because there was no funding, no money for opposing advertising, than the outcome will always be a slam dunk.

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