GOAL Alert 4-2014
Election update 9 November 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES
MOMENTUM FOR GUN CONTROL?
I-594: WHAT NEXT?
THE OTHER WASHINGTON
Tomorrow, 10 November 2014, is the 239th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. Happy birthday to all of my Marine brethren and to our “FMF Corpsman,” the highest calling in the Navy. Right after “Semper fidelis” comes “Corpsman up!” (The devil made me put that in GOAL Post.)
47% of the registered voters in Washington took the trouble to return their mail-in ballots this time around. Shame on any gun owners who failed to vote.
For gun owners, the passage of I-594 will no doubt dominate the discussion, and I’ll get to that next. But there is a silver lining in the election. My biggest fear the day before the election was that I-594 supporters would use their $9 MILLION bank account to conduct a massive get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign. Without question that would have had a spillover effect on the legislative elections. But apparently they didn’t — and it didn’t.
The overall result of the legislative elections was a net plus for Republicans. Former Democrat Representative and now Republican Senator-elect Mark Miloscia (R-30-Federal Way) won his bid to replace retiring Democrat Tracy Eide, giving Republicans clear majority control of the state Senate, 25R-24D. Add to that the fact that nominally-Democrat Senator Tim Sheldon beat off an attempt by Party loyalists to run a Democrat challenger, Irene Bowling, against him. No doubt with a lot of help from Republican voters in the 35th, Tim won his election, and will no doubt continue to work with Republicans in the Majority Coalition. (And congratulations to WAC Honorary Life Member Pam Roach (R-31) for her victory over a Republican challenger.)
On the House side, the GOP picked up four seats, and a fifth seat awaits a recount vote. Welcome Representatives-elect Lynda Wilson (R-17) (also an NRA-certified firearms safety instructor), Melanie Stambaugh (R-25), Michelle Caldier (R-26) and Dan Griffey (R-35). All four defeated incumbent Democrats. That gives us a House make-up of 51Ds-47Rs, not a Republican majority, but a lot closer. All but one of the pro-gun Democrats also won reelection, so from a purely gun rights perspective, we should be in good shape.
Immediately following the election, in press conferences crowing about their initiative victory, I-594 supporters promised an aggressive gun control campaign in the next legislative session, looking at things like “assault weapon” bans, magazine capacity limits, mandatory safe storage, etc. At least theoretically, a Republican-controlled Senate and a pro-gun majority in the House should bring all such designs to a rapid halt. But politics doesn’t always work that way, especially in the House where control still rests with Democrats, and leadership decides which bills move and which bills die. There is no doubt gun control advocates believe momentum is on their side, and they’ll attempt to exploit it.
As for I-594, at this point there are more questions than answers. Given the ambiguity of many provisions in the initiative, it’s going to boil down to a question of interpretation, followed by a decision of what will be enforced, in which way. Without doubt you can expect full enforcement of background checks at gun shows and for any other permanent transfer (sale) of a firearm. While a strict reading of the provisions for loans, etc, would call for background checks here, too, that’s going to be difficult to enforce, and it remains to be seen what guidance will be given to police. This should all be hashed out before the initiative takes effect on 4 December, a day before the WAC gun show in Monroe, coincidentally!
There are discussions underway about how to attack 594, and how to limit its impact on law-abiding gun owners. As an initiative passed by the people, for two years any legislative fixes would take a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature — and that ain’t gonna happen. But there are potentially some legislative actions that can be taken around the to ameliorate the impact. Court challenges are also a possibility, for portions of the initiative. Again, the issue is being worked. More on that as they develop.
I’ll be publishing more information about enforcement, and the gun community’s reaction to it, as the effective date approaches.
WARNING! I expect our law enforcement professionals to be exactly that — professionals. While most did not support I-594, now that it is law they have a duty to enforce it, as interpreted by their chain-of-command.
What I DO expect to see is attempted stings — entrapment scenarios played out, especially at venues like gun shows. Not by police officers, but by 594 supporters. You get out of your car at the gun show, pull a shotgun out of the trunk and head for the gate. It wouldn’t surprise me to see someone approach you and make an offer for the shotgun. You ask, “What about the background check,” and the “buyer” responds, “Hey, who’s to see or know?” The person that will see and know is the guy the next lane over, with his cellphone camera or videocam up and running, recording the whole transaction. And that will force our police friends into enforcing a law they may not like or agree with, but it’s the law.
DO NOT GET TRAPPED. LIKE IT OR NOT, FOLLOW THE LAW UNTIL WE GET IT SORTED OUT!
By now the whole world knows that Republicans have taken control of the U.S. Senate, giving them a 52-46 majority in that body. Two seats are still up for grabs, both likely to go to Republicans, giving them 54-46 control when the new, 114th, Congress convenes in January. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that it will be an interesting two years!
Hopefully Republicans understand that the election results were not so much an embrace of Republican policies and principles as it was a rejection of Obama policies. There’s a big difference there, obviously. But it’s hard for someone who just won an election to think that it wasn’t so much his or her winning personality as much as dislike for the other guy — or the other guy’s surrogate, President Obama.
It wasn’t particularly encouraging to hear the president say that he not only heard the voters, he heard “the voice of those that did not vote.” Huh? He’s hearing voices? Is this the same guy who said in 2012, “If you don’t like my policies, go win an election.” Well, they did. In 1994, after the Democrat disaster that saw Republicans take control of both chambers of Congress, then-President and master politician Bill Clinton acknowledged that some of the loss was due to his policies, and he accepted full responsibility for that. Three words you will NEVER hear Barack Obama say are, “I accept responsibility.”
In 1995 and beyond, Clinton moved to the center, worked with Republicans on many issues, and passed landmark legislation such as welfare reform (since overturned by a stroke of Obama’s executive pen). President Obama is still threatening us with that executive pen, apparently with immigration “reform” (i.e. amnesty) at the top of the list. And how close to the top is gun control?
One clear outcome is that for the first time in his presidency, Obama will have to take responsibility for using that pen, whether for executive orders that exceed his authority or for use of the veto. For the past four years, the Republican-controlled House has been passing bill after bill, only to have them stonewalled in the Senate by Harry Reid. Reid has been running interference for Obama.
That firewall is gone. Bills will now move to the president’s desk, and if he vetoes them, we will know where the “gridlock:” lies. Expect a lot of, “Well, the Republicans MADE me veto the bill, it’s not my fault. They knew I wouldn’t sign it.” I guess that’s an improvement from pointing the finger at George W. Bush!
One last shot. 53% of your fellow citizens did not vote in the election. The next time someone complains to you about the effect of I-594, ask them if they voted. If they didn’t, you know where the blame lies. Shame on them.
The next legislative session begins on 12 January. I expect to start publishing GOAL Post a week prior to that.