U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- For the fifth straight week, the Second Amendment Foundation is sponsoring a “wildly successful” television advertising campaign on more than a dozen networks, encouraging viewers to sign onto the “2nd Amendment First Responder” project in which the growing gun rights organization says it is “providing intellectual ammunition” to win the gun right debate.
According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “Right now, we’re the only gun rights organization in the nation running a national TV advertising campaign defending gun rights, and continued positive public response makes this possible.”
SAF is based in Bellevue, Wash., just across Lake Washington from Seattle, where MyNorthwest.com recently ran a lengthy article about how “gun violence survivors” are pushing for changes in Evergreen State gun laws. The article, stretching more than 1,600 words, was an emotional piece discussing survivors of the Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas more than three years ago and talked about legislation (SSB 5038) in the Evergreen State to ban open carry at permitted rallies and demonstrations, especially on the Capitol campus in Olympia. The coverage was designed to highlight the third annual “National Gun Violence Survivors Week.”
However, reaction to the piece on MyNorthwest’s Facebook page was largely negative, with gun rights advocates weighing in with nearly 175 comments.
SAF’s 60-second advertisement raises alarms about Joe Biden’s gun control agenda, and about proposed gun control laws in Washington state. The legislation puts SAF and its sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, in the middle of a dual battlefield. Seattle is home to a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group called the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
While national focus has been on Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s radical H.R. 127, which calls for retroactive registration of all guns in the nation, plus licensing and psychological evaluations of every gun owner, the state-level efforts are no less alarming to Second Amendment activists. Veteran rights advocate, author, instructor and SAF President Massad Ayoob weighs in on H.R. 127 at Backwoods Home Magazine.
In addition to the proposed open carry ban, Washington state lawmakers are also considering a ban on so-called “high capacity magazines.” This substitute measure (SSB5078) sets a maximum of 17 rounds that may be carried in a magazine for a semi-auto rifle or pistol.
Both Washington state measures are getting heavy support from anti-gunners, creating an emotionally-charged environment in which SAF’s “2nd Amendment First Responder” activists might have a role, pushing back with facts to educate rather than obfuscate.
For example, gun owners can counter demands for a ban on so-called “assault rifles” by referring to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report which consistently shows rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides nationally and at the state level in any given year.
In 2019—the most recent year for which data is available—Washington state reported 194 slayings in which 135 involved firearms. Of those killings, only 7 involved rifles of any type, and three more were attributed to shotguns. Thirty-eight involved firearms of unknown type. That’s fewer people than were murdered in Baltimore, Maryland, yet Washington anti-gunners continually declare the state is in the midst of a “gun violence epidemic.”
Language in both Washington state bills has been modified in an effort to make them more palatable. Originally, people open carrying could not be within 1,000 feet of a demonstration, but that’s been reduced to 250 feet. The original cartridge limit in the other bill was ten rounds, but after repeatedly being told that many commonly-owned pistols come with magazines that can carry up to 15 or 17 rounds, the majority of Democrats allowed that change to be made.
Washington has always been an open carry state, a fact recognized in some court rulings over the years. In one unpublished opinion handed down by the State Court of Appeals, Division II is known as State v. Gregory Elijah Casad, the court wrote:
“We note that, in connection with this case, several individuals have commented that they would find it strange, maybe shocking, to see a man carrying a gun down the street in broad daylight. Casad’s appellate counsel conceded that she would personally react with shock, but she emphasized that an individual’s lack of comfort with firearms does not equate to reasonable alarm. We agree. It is not unlawful for a person to responsibly walk down the street with a visible firearm, even if this action would shock some people.”–Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II
It should not surprise anyone that such a program as SAF’s 2nd Amendment First Responder campaign is reportedly gaining traction. There is apparently a widespread perception that the National Rifle Association is hampered by legal struggles, and many gun owners have been looking elsewhere. SAF’s membership has risen by several thousand in recent months, and that includes the response to the 2nd Amendment First Responder effort.
In a recent announcement about extending the advertising campaign another week, Gottlieb asked rhetorically,
“Who is a 2nd Amendment First Responder? They are average American citizen activists who can quickly respond to threats at the local, state or even federal levels, such as packing the courts in order to erode our Second Amendment rights, by providing intelligent arguments and rational alternatives
“Considering the radical gun control legislation introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and the threat by anti-gun Senator Dick Durbin to make gun control his top priority, it is hardly surprising that so many people have shown interest in our 2nd Amendment First Responder effort,” Gottlieb continued. “Our activists are interested in making a difference, not just a point.”
“We’re developing and educating community organizers across the country,” he explained. “We are providing them with intellectual ammunition to win the argument. Based on the response so far, there are legions of men and women of all ages, backgrounds, races and religions who are dedicated to the common cause of protecting the right to keep and bear arms from further erosion.”
Several times over the past four years, Gottlieb has remarked he wanted to “Make the Second Amendment great again,” paraphrasing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
Now he and other advocates are fighting to prevent the amendment from being further eroded.
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