Ballot Initiatives Part III: How Can We Beat Them This Fall?

posted on August 29, 2016

There is this marvelously cynical line in Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short”: “The truth is like poetry—and most people #%&@ hate poetry.”

Voter initiatives can be like that. They can sound so simple, but the meaning, good or bad, is in the details. And many of us, in the cacophony of our busy lives, don’t have time to hear about details.

The anti-gun movement knows this. They also know that simple, emotion-based arguments can convince people who don’t know much about guns and the Second Amendment to vote away their freedom.

In fact, these gun-ban groups have even told us as much. They paid consultants to come up with a public-relations playbook and, thankfully, it got out. Completed in 2012, Preventing Gun Violence through Effective Messaging’s “Key Messaging Principle” is to “[a]lways focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.” So yeah, they know they need well-intentioned, but misguided emotion to win; they know the truth is their enemy.Gun-control groups have to sell a lie. They need to convince a majority of voters that their gun-control package is a solution to gun violence.

That being said, making sure the truth prevails means doing three things:

1. Ask Friends And Neighbors A Simple Question

Gun-control groups have to sell a lie. They need to convince a majority of voters that their gun-control package is a solution to gun violence. With regards to the so-called “universal” background check lie, which will be on ballots in Nevada and Maine this November, they need people to assume this infringement on the rights of law-abiding Americans is sensible and will stop bad guys from getting guns—despite the fact that even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has found that criminals get guns in ways that won’t be impeded by such laws.

To expose this lie, ask those you know who don’t know enough about this issue something like: “Do you think it should be illegal for me to help someone try shooting skeet?”

“Well, no,” the reasonable person would reply.

You explain: “That’s one thing that so-called ‘universal’ background check laws do. They require me to transfer a gun to someone before I can let them take the gun to a range. That means we need to go to a gun dealer and pay fees and have a background check called in to the FBI before I can let them take the gun to a range. In many cases—remember, these laws are complex—I can’t even just take them and let them shoot my gun, as the gun needs to be transferred legally to them first. Even if we do all this, they can’t even give it back to me until we go back to the gun store and pay fees and call the FBI all over again. The gun-control groups will tell you they’ve crafted exceptions to allow this, but if you read the legislation you’ll see it is very complicated and onerous.”

“Huh?” the reasonable person might gasp.

Your National Rifle Association, along with other lovers of freedom, has been hard at work in places like Nevada and Maine getting the truth out.“So,” you ask, “does this sound like something designed to stop bad guys from doing bad things? Or does it sound like a tactic for the gun-control lobby to make it more difficult for someone to try shooting for the first time?”

After this conversation, ask them to vote “no” on this gross constitutional infringement.

2. Grow A Grassroots Movement To Protect Our Freedom

Your National Rifle Association, along with other lovers of freedom, has been hard at work in places like Nevada and Maine getting the truth out. For example, in Nevada the NRA launched the website “The law-abiding gun owners of Nevada need to know that Question 1 would cost them their money and their freedom,” said NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen. “This ballot initiative was bought and paid for by outside gun-control groups bent on the Californication of Nevada. Armed with the facts, we believe the freedom-loving people of Nevada will reject Question 1.”

Mortensen then said, “The out-of-state gun-control groups behind Question 1 don’t have a network of grassroots supporters like the NRA has. Our strength as an organization has always been our members. They are smart, informed and engaged.”

NRA is making a similar push to fight the Maine ballot initiative, with a new NRA website——exposing the truth about Question 3 and Bloomberg’s plan to criminalize perfectly innocent activities by Maine gun owners and hunters.

Just last week, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox traveled to Maine to warn of the dangers the ballot initiative poses. “[Michael Bloomberg] believes he should decide everything from how big a soda you can buy to how much salt you’re allowed to have in your food to what colors are acceptable for the new roof you want to put on your home,” Cox told those gathered at the Heritage Policy Center in Portland, Maine, last Wednesday. “Now Bloomberg’s pouring millions into trying to make the state of Maine just like New York City when it comes to gun control.”For this reason, your NRA has worked to get many public officials to speak out.

Cox continued: “Whether or not you own a gun, you need to know: Question 3 would be a nightmare for all of you. Because it’s an unenforceable, unfunded mandate that won’t stop a single violent criminal from getting a gun. But it will turn law-abiding citizens into accidental criminals overnight. And it will cut another chunk out of your freedom.”

Bloomberg’s many gun-control groups have never been able to build a national, 5-million-member organization like the NRA. They can’t because what they are is a few wealthy, privileged individuals who want to weaken the freedom of the people. They can confuse and sell untruths to people who don’t understand their rights, but they can’t win if enough voters know the truth.

3. Get Public Officials To Speak Out

Getting elected officials and others to courageously speak out for our freedom makes news, and forces even the media members who side with Bloomberg to report the other side. For this reason, your NRA has worked to get many public officials to speak out.

Jennifer Crowe, communications director for Nevadans for Background Checks, says their campaign is backed by law enforcement, faith, business and community leaders—yet more than half of the county sheriffs in the state have vocally opposed the ballot initiative. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has also come out against the Question 1 gun control initiative. Robert Uithoven, campaign director of NRA Nevadans for Freedom, said, “Gov. Brian Sandoval knows that Question 1 would not prevent criminals from obtaining firearms and would instead cost Nevadans time, money and freedom. We’re excited to have Gov. Sandavol join the growing coalition of Nevadans committed to defending freedom from Bloomberg’s extreme gun control agenda.” 

As Sandavol knows, a lot of studies show that “universal” background check laws would not stop criminals from getting guns (here is a interesting study published in “Social Medicine.”). The Washington Post, hardly a pro-gun newspaper, was even begrudgingly forced to admit in a story titled “New evidence confirms what gun-rights advocates have said for a long time about crime” that the data in the study in “Social Medicine” actually “reinforce[s] a common refrain among gun-rights advocacy groups. They argue that since criminals don’t follow laws, new regulations on gun ownership would only serve to burden lawful owners while doing little to combat crime.”

Thanks to NRA Nevadans for Freedom, many law-enforcement officials and more have come out against the Question 1 gun-control initiative. These include Sheriff Ken Furlong (Carson City), Sheriff Ben Trotter (Churchill County), Sheriff Ron Pierini (Douglas County), Sheriff Jim Pitts, (Elko County), Sen. Don Gustavson and many, many more. (For a full list, along with what they have to say, click here.)


boxing gloves
boxing gloves

Special Report: The NRA is Fighting Back

To undercut the Second Amendment, New York officials attacked the NRA's First Amendment rights. To stop this, the NRA has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for redress.

From the Editor: Maybe They Just Don't Understand

Hollywood does, in fact, have some social responsibility, but getting there just takes more thought than some of them can manage.

Did Biden Really Expand Background Checks?

Here's what President Biden's recent executive order actually does.

Standing Guard | Biden’s State Of The Union Spin

President Biden has a long, well-documented history of lies suited to his political agenda.

President’s Column | Don’t Let Complacency Overturn The Bruen Decision

Bruen was a battle—a major battle, to be sure, but the war is not over. The victory we achieved in Bruen has enraged the enemies of the Second Amendment, so we must stay vigilant.

Why We’re Challenging ATF’s Rule On Stabilizing Braces

The ATF previously recognized that stabilizing braces serve a legitimate function and did not automatically subject a firearm to NFA provisions. Now they've finalized a new rule reversing their stance.


Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.