Coming to a screen near you: TV ads already starting for gun initiative on fall ballot

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SEATTLE — The November election is more than two months away, but political ads are already hitting the airwaves.  Supporters of Initiative 594, to provide universal background checks for gun purchases, have raised millions of dollars to convince voters to strengthen Washington’s gun laws.

This week, I-594 received another $2 million. The latest money comes from Bill and Melinda Gates and local entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, each of whom gave $1 million.  That’s in addition to hundreds of thousands from both Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer.

These local billionaires have helped I-594 raise nearly $6 million, with more expected by the November.

Opponents of I-594 are pushing an initiative of their own, I-591, which would prevent any background check law from being more restrictive that the federal government’s.  It would also prohibit any gun registry.

While that effort’s pockets aren’t nearly as deep, I-591 supporters have raised $1 million to push their alternative.

The money behind the universal background check measure, I-594, will buy a lot of TV ads, but there is more to the strategy than that.  Hanauer, who is the leading force behind the effort, is trying to pick an expensive fight with the National Rifle Association.

“We expect that for the NRA to beat our initiative, they would have to spend in the order of $40 (million) or $50 million,” Hanauer said earlier this summer during an interview on the Seattle Channel.

He noted that the group only spends $20 million across the nation during a typical election cycle.

“If I draw them into a fight that cost them $40 million in this cycle," Hanauer said, "that’s a lot of money that they don’t ordinarily spend.”

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10 comments

  • Paul&Kathy

    Every liberal in the state will be pushing this and using the slogan “Save the Children” ……… again.
    The fools don’t understand they are taking away Constitutional rights that have a real purpose………..idiots!

  • Amanda

    I think this is stupid, it not gonna do anything but piss people off. I am a mother and I worry about sending my child to school, and this stupid initiative does not make me feel any safer sending my child to school. I would feel a whole lot better if they would make it to where two-four teachers are trained and each have access to a gun that is locked up in a safe in each school. Some schools and states are doing this, and its a much better idea than anything else. All of the shootings in the last few years have been done by people who stole their guns. Background checks are close to pointless. Its just like a restraining order. Pointless. Criminals and crazy people will continue to steal their guns, might as well shoot them.

  • John

    Not one Washington State law enforcement group is supporting this and a few have come out to oppose it. The people on the front lines in this state aren’t supporting it.

    • Marnie

      What individuals want or don’t want cannot be the determining factor. The United States stands out among developed countries for being home to approximately one third of all firearms in the world and has weak controls. Also, there are 88 guns to every 100 people in the U.S. (ABC News). There have been too many shootings, accidental and otherwise, loss of innocent lives, destroyed families, broken hearts. This movement for control and safety standards will take time and much adversity, I’m sure.

      • Alex N

        You want to make it illegal for me share a gun with a friend at the range. It would be illegal to teach someone gun safety under this completely insane initiative. ALL transfers would require a background check and change of ownership of the firearm. It’s in the law if you would take the time to read it in the back of your voter’s pamphlet. The exemptions are so narrow and poorly written they cannot even be applied to real world circumstances. How in the world is this imitative supposed to make anyone safer? The whole basis of it is based on the lie that you can order guns online without a background check. BS! You have to ship guns to an FFL dealer and a background check is performed. Mail ordering firearms has been illegal since 1968!

  • Marnie Billion

    No one wants to take your guns away per se. But concessions must be made for the overall population, not just gun enthusiasts. We can’t keep using constitutional rights as a battle cry without also looking at statistics. Under gun control, guns can still be owned. But people that present possible risks should not own a gun. Safety measures are not that difficult to live with as is evident in other countries. Gun registry, background checks, restrictions on certain types of guns is a necessity. For example, why should a citizen own a silencer, modified pistol to become automatic, sawed off shotgun, an Uzi and so on. It’s a 2-way street and safety measures have to start somewhere. Arming the school principal is not the answer. Also, shooting ranges need to come under this umbrella with guidelines. No matter what you do in life, games, politics, love, family, there are guidelines which we know and accept. Guns are no exception.

  • Chuck

    Watched a TV ad this morning featuring a police chief who lied though his teeth about what I-594 will prevent. Both examples he gave already require a background check. Such blatant lies should result in his removal from his job since a lair cannot be expect to do anything else.

  • Paul&Kathy

    Oh yes, “Savw the children”……..again. Same old refrain.
    Bad guys steal their guns…….they DO NOT BUY THEM. Wake up!