Why did we lose on Question 1 if we have the truth on our side? Answer: You can’t beat someone who cheats.
Bloomberg and his founded groups had every advantage that we did not have; they had money, a complicit media to assist them, and an army of deluded liberals more than willing to do their bidding. We know of the shenanigans at polling places and collecting ballots. We heard the rumors of petition signature gathers being bused in from Washington as soon as their initiative passed. We’ve heard all the lies.
"...these people [anti-gun reformers] are always well organized and working in harmony and with great enthusiasm, while the simple advocates of the thing that is to be reformed out of existence are unable to sense the danger that impends, and neglect to defend their rights until they suddenly find themselves deprived of them."
Question 1’s effects will hurt blacks, Hispanics, and women—the target focus of the left—exactly those who benefit most from private gun sales. While the left crows about voter IDs deterring potential marginalized voters, they demand that those same marginalized persons deal with a complicated, confusing process they are not likely to understand, if be aware of at all. But it’s not about reality or the harmful side effects, it’s about gun control.
- Massive outspending by Everytown/Bloomberg
- Apathetic gun owners who did nothing more than vote and post pictures on Facebook
- California ex-pats and uneducated voters who believed the "yes" commercials
We need to look at why the initiatives are being used to push gun control. Initiatives are not subject to party-line votes in the legislature or vetoes on the governor’s desk. In a way, initiatives bypass the checks-and-balances system to take the matter directly to the public. Direct democracy was seen by our founding fathers as mob rule. Wisely, they instituted a representative republican form of government that we know today. While initiatives are great tools for the voters to change things, they are subject to abuse.
“Ballot measures bypass the carefully designed deliberative model, and terrifyingly favor the deep-pocketed individuals who can throw the largest amount of money into advertising their cause in the best possible light. Put bluntly, these referendum processes allow even the most blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable laws to be bought by the highest bidder.” (source)
Nevadans for Background Checks, the supposedly “grassroots” proponents of the initiative, was nothing more than a façade of Everytown for Gun Safety. They were at work in Washington, Oregon, and in Maine as well.
If enough people go along with something, right or wrong, it becomes law. Many criticize the initiative system as being inflexible; poorly-written bills cannot be changed or deficiencies corrected. Initiatives have emerged as a favorite of gun control proponents because they bypass checks-and-balances. No congress or governor can stand in the way. All it takes is votes. And lots and lots of money.
Partisan politics is replaced with sound-bite politics. Let’s face it, people today have too much going on in their lives to truly care about a system that often changes despite their wishes or input. Americans feel disconnected from their political process and don’t spend a great deal of time educating themselves on the topics.
"It is quite clear that the greater park of the public knows little or nothing about the merits of the question presented. As in all such matters the bulk of the populace will doubtless remain inarticulate, unorganized, and incapable of self-expression. It will probably in the future as in the past continue to be a prey of vociferous groups which make up in noise what they lack in principles and intelligence which frequently succeed in accomplishing their designs because the public as a whole has no adequate method of defending itself and protecting its interests."
"It appeals to a considerable number of people who know nothing about guns, and it is swallowed whole by that portion of the public who do not think about what they read or hear but who are ready to accept almost any strong and readymade idea which is handed to them for consumption in tablet form."
A law that flaunts the constitution passed by a margin of about 9,000 people who voted largely out of ignorance and deception is why the Founding Fathers eschewed direct democracy. Less than 1% is still a loss, but is far from a mandate and the closest difference in any of the Bloomberg initiative races.
Where an inflexible initiative and short blurbs about the issue go wrong is they turn the initiative into a form of mob rule. You’re either for it or against it; there is no middle ground and no mediation. If a poorly written initiative is passed, as many, many problems with Washington’s I-594 background check law have been found, there is no remedy, aside from the courts, to address those issues in the short term. Once the people have spoken, there can be argument with the law that they have passed, for good or for bad.
The only major donor to reverse course was Steve Wynn, but it was too little, too late. Let’s hope he can atone for his mistake by making an equally large donation to the Nevada Firearms Coalition. As you can see from the Secretary of State page, many donors, including Nevadans with more money than sense, helped by this feel-good piece of tyranny.
“Nevada in particular has become an expensive battleground. Bloomberg has personally donated nearly $10 million to the effort there, and Nevadans for Background Checks had collected $14.3 million as of Oct. 18. That is nearly triple the $4.8 million that the leading opposition group, NRA Nevadans for Freedom, had received, all from the NRA.” In fact, as of Nov. 4th, the totals were $15,852,790.11 contributed, per the Secretary of State, including $3.5 million from Michael Bloomberg himself.
Casinos, attorneys, and various gaming and Vegas business people poured tons of their own money into supporting the initiative. Why? Background checks have nothing to do with casinos and it’s doubtful that they are concerned with stopping violence in the Valley, as what happens far off The Strip is unlikely to affect tourism. The answer is that supporting a gun control initiative shows obedience to the casino Sheriff Lombardo. It’s classic Nevada backscratching; if the casinos support gun control, which Lombardo supported in private, he is likely to be more favorable to their security needs.
Why Nevada and what’s next?
Far more is at stake than just Nevada. Rural states with large, Democrat-leaning urban populations; Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Maine were targeted successfully because of demographics. Gun control supporters think they can win here and start a domino effect across the nation because they are taking advantage of Nevada’s composition.
Comparing to the neck-and-neck race in Maine as the results came in, Nevada shows a deep divide. Clark County, with its urban population with a huge percentage of liberal-inclined California voters, swayed the vote. The common thread with defeat is a tradition of shooting and hunting. There was a similar urban vs. rural pattern in Washington in 2014. A lack of knowledge of guns is what equals a fear of it and susceptibility to accepting gun control. The large percentage of Black and Hispanic voters who tend to paradoxically vote for gun control while being victimized disproportionately by crime also probably helped this latest infringement “win.”
In Nevada, over ¾ of the state’s population lives in Clark County, derisively known as East California. Essentially, it’s gaming the system. With their millions of dollars the small TV and newspaper market can be dominated with adverting that supports gun control. There is no large, spread-out rural population that thinks differently which can balance the vote. Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, and Virginia are the next soft targets because they are so similar.
Why didn’t the NRA stop this?
The NRA was the only major group to fight the initiative. The Nevada Firearms Coalition (including its PAC Nevadans for State Gun Rights) suffers from low membership and limited funds. Nevada’s population is highly transient, largely disconnected from the community as a whole, and highly individualistic. The incredible narrowing of the lead of Question 1 in the polls and the close vote show that the true grassroots efforts by individual gun owners and NVFAC members showed that the Silver State’s gun owners are motivated to protect their rights.
One criticism I will offer of the NRA is the failure to anticipate and counter Bloomberg’s strategy early on (let’s face it, the Bloomberg groups are the driving forces in American gun control now). Back when the ballot initiative strategy debuted in Washington during the 2014 election seasons, the NRA leadership should have fought hard in the early stages of petition gathering. Clearly, the NRA and gun owners have learned as this battle has gone on; Nevada may have just been an unfortunate narrow loss, but perhaps Arizona might benefit from the lessons learned.
Larger is the issue of state-level groups and individual involvement. Nevada’s individual gun owners made the most of what we had, but it wasn’t enough. Sadly, gun owners don’t view themselves as a community as do members of political parties or religious groups. They don’t have the same belief of the actual volunteer anti-gunners who truly believe they are doing good and, ignorant of history and human nature, that additional laws and restrictions will stop violence. Gun owners tend to be individualistic and conservative, and so they generally don’t involve themselves in the political process as they view it as interfering with other’s rights and viewpoints.
Nor do gun owners have the same craven tenacity to inflict their political will upon others at all costs. Unfortunately, the dismissive attitude, especially early on “It won’t pass; the NRA will defeat it” cost us in the end. Apathy on the part of gun owners was the killer. If you own guns and voted “yes”, didn’t vote, or this is the first you’re hearing of this: fuck you, you are part of the problem. Yes, we swear now. Get off your ass, get involved, educate people, and do more than virtually masturbate online about how you are going to wage civil war against gun controllers.
Posting a photo of your holster on Facebook with an “I voted” sticker on it isn’t helping. Who did you educate? How much did you donate? How many protests did you go to? Did you vote Democrat in the legislative races (more gun control there)? There is only about two-dozen serious, hardcore supporters of gun rights in Nevada (in this battle and more). We all fought in different ways; some on the phone, some knocking on doors, some hitting the voting sites, and some educating online (as I have since 2014). Why didn’t you give/do more? If we had double the core of activists, we might have won.
Activism is more than just putting pictures and bitching on social media. For those of you who did nothing more than vote, you bear this failure upon your shoulders. Liberty needs intense active support to succeed and nothing more than laziness to turn into tyranny.
Why do people vote for such garbage laws?
Ignorance is the easy answer. Most simply don’t know better. As for the rest, there is an unwillingness to admit that (relatively speaking) nothing can prevent violence. Perhaps the prohibitionists cannot even comprehend the nature of evil and therefore look not to the failings of the soul, but to the failings in the law, police, government, etc. Rather than being an unpredictable, uncontrollable tragedy, had just one particular thing been done, it could have stopped the crime. That “one thing” is often another law, which they naively expect criminals to obey.
Anti-gun voters and politicians see the law as some sort of supernatural guarantee. It is an often empty guarantee of safety through deterrence via the threat of punishment. Even if the unpredictable nature of man claims a life, the law is a “promise” that the killer will face justice. Whether that promise is kept or not doesn’t matter; like an ever-forgiving cuckold, liberal and anti-gun voters are ever willing to forgive those that betray their words. Passing a law is “doing something”, whether the action truly achieves its stated objective or not. Anti-gun laws like Question 1 are only symbolic, talismanic acts that will temporarily absolve them of the collective societal guilt of violent crime.
So why do people put faith in gun control laws? Laws are predictable. They are black and white, firm, finite answers. It provides a certainty to them. Gun control is just an easy answer; a tool to dissuade the honest and perhaps add an extra penalty, if that, to criminals. The nitty gritty facts that existing illegal possession/acquisition laws are not enforced escapes them or are of little consequence as long as they “feel good.”
The mere knowledge that a law against the action exists is their comfort. They presume the law to always be right and bulwark against evil. The law should hold terror for those who do wrong; almost like garlic or a crucifix to a vampire. Ever hold a copy of the penal codes? Often it’s thick and heavy book, far more so than the Bible (and less forgiving), even though their onion skin pages are so similar. Gun control is a religion without a god and supporters congregants who neither read nor pray over their scriptures, but merely sing the hymns with empty hearts.
Passing a law will not assuage their grief. Like any other empty gesture, it is a short, hollow comfort that is rarely ever borne out with positive results. Evil a phenomenon that cannot be restrained by law, only met with counter force. Like a flood, evil will constantly seek the cracks in whatever dam we erect and spill out.
The anti-gun cannot accept that evil men are incapable of being restrained. Because they cannot accept this simple truth and abhor the reality that violence can only truly stop determined violence. This denial leads them to believe that if there are enough laws and restrictions, the chains and fetters will be too heavy to resist. In the end, it is a fundamental mistaken understanding of human nature.
The success of this fight is that we fought so hard and well despite overwhelming odds. While privately we admitted we would probably lose, we became cautiously optimistic towards the end. Our optimism was not misplaced despite the loss. 9,000 votes; less than 1%. We narrowed it down to that from a near 60/40 defeat. This margin was secured almost entirely by true grassroots efforts. The NRA only provided commercials, facilities, and materials. It was the involved gun rights activists who made Everytown and Bloomberg fight like the devil to get their money’s worth.
Their loss in Maine and the narrow margin here does not bode well for them elsewhere. Had the NRA and the apathetic gun owners understood what was at stake and how to fight, we could have easily handed them their asses. Perhaps the next states in the antis’ sights can deliver the knockout punch.
Gun owners are now alert to the schemes of the enemies of freedom, but it came at the cost of our private property rights, the continued erosion of gun rights, and another major step towards national gun registration. An uneducated half of the electorate, too stupid to think critically or investigate the issue deeper, brought tyranny upon the other half and unwittingly upon themselves as well. Until educated voters vote with their minds and not with their emotions, gun control fanatics will find the gullible to take their bait.
Despite losing Question 1 and the legislature, we still have a Republican governor and Republican control of the federal government. We should now work to make sure the Democrat legislature’s attempts at more gun control are brutally suppressed and vetoed as well as getting national concealed carry reciprocity and reductions in NFA items (silencers, short barreled rifles/shotguns) at the federal level.
 Goddard, Calvin. "This Pistol Bogey." The American Journal of Police Science. Vol. 1, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1930), p. 182
 Frederick, Karl T. "Pistol Regulation: Its Principles and History. Part I." The American Journal of Police Science. Vol. 2, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 1931) pp. 441-442