With little likelihood of anti-rights firearms legislation passing at the federal level anytime soon, the attack on our rights and freedoms has shifted to the state level, and is led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg through his various AstroTurf subsidiaries. Their primary focus is on states, like Arizona, that have a mechanism that allows petition gathering to get measures on the ballot, bypassing the legislative process.
Background Check– Bait and Switch
Their strategy is simple but effective. Spend millions on a ballot measure that requires all firearm transfers, retail and private, to undergo a "background check", with that information saved in state databases. The stated purpose of these measures is to prevent criminals from acquiring firearms. In reality, these laws have minimal, if any, impact on criminals. The real, but unspoken, reason for these laws is to identify law-abiding gun owners. As we are seeing in states like New York and California that have gun owner registration requirements, the next steps are criminalizing ownership of an ever-expanding list of firearms, then confiscation.
Defeat in Washington
On November 4, Bloomberg's anti-rights cartel scored a victory in the State of Washington, where a Draconian gun owner registration ballot measure, I-594, passed easily. All private firearms transfers in the state must now undergo a "background check," with that information stored in state databases. "Transfer" under the new law is so broadly defined that letting a friend examine your gun can be a criminal act. Bloomberg and other like-minded billionaires poured over $10 Million into the passage of I-594.
In Washington, gun owner groups attempted to counter I-594 with a "background check lite" ballot initiative, I-591. Their hope was that both initiatives would pass and require the courts to sort it out. I-591 was defeated by the voters, leaving only I-594 as the new law. AzCDL has no intention of proposing or supporting anything similar in Arizona.
Pending in Nevada
Bloomberg's anti-rights cartel is now targeting Nevada, Oregon and Arizona. The effort in Nevada started in 2013 with gun owner registration buried in a "mental health" bill that passed out of the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor. This legislation would have required all private firearms transfers to go through a "background check" with the transaction information recorded into a state controlled "Central Repository."
With the failure of the legislation, Bloomberg's minions in Nevada gathered signatures to put this gun owner registration scheme on the 2016 ballot. Leading the fight against gun owner registration in Nevada is Nevadans for State Gun Rights.
A Challenge in Oregon
In 1999 a gun owner registration bill almost made it through the Oregon legislature. It was defeated in large part by the efforts of the then newly minted Oregon Firearms Federation, an independent group similar to AzCDL.
On November 4, Oregon elected an anti-rights governor and strengthened their anti-rights majority in the legislature. Most likely, a gun owner registration effort in Oregon will be via their legislature.
The Crown Jewel is Arizona
Arizona has Constitutional Carry and has twice been declared, by Guns and Ammo magazine, as the best state for gun owners.
Crushing the firearms freedoms we enjoy in Arizona is at the top of the anti-rights zealots' list.
We must carefully craft our strategy to defeat the coming gun owner registration scheme in Arizona.
As we've seen in Washington, Bloomberg and his billionaire buddies are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to strip law-abiding citizens of their fundamental rights.
That is not a battle we intend to fight. In the words of Sun Tzu, "The skillful strategist defeats the enemy without doing battle." We have already begun strategizing and forming alliances. We will soon be working with a newly elected legislature and governor, along with other allies in the war on our rights.