Former NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg invested $50 million to launch Everytown for Gun Safety in an effort to control the gun rights debate and elect politicians that share his opinions on gun control.
Billionaires Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer joined Bloomberg recently by each adding $1 million to a Washington state gun control initiative, “Yes on 594”.
“When billionaires target citizens’ Constitutional rights, it’s a serious problem,” said Stephen Aldstadt, President of SCOPE NY a Second Amendment advocacy organization, which has broadened its watch to other civil liberties.
“Voters should be very concerned when wealthy elitists like Bloomberg believe that their civil rights are for sale,” Allan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBR) told the Seattle Times.
Gottlieb has challenged Gates and Bloomberg to a debate on gun rights and control. Neither have accepted.
What are the non-billionaires – normal people – doing in the real world with respect to gun rights?
Lawmakers and law enforcers are taking up the issue locally.
State lawmakers are increasingly stepping around federal gun control laws through “nullification” laws. Over 200 of these bills have been introduced in the last decade, according to News21. The effort is to bolster states’ rights.
“I think the president and the majority of Congress, both in the House and Senate, are just completely out of touch with how people feel about Second Amendment rights,” Missouri state Sen. Brian Nieves, told NBC.
Another movement is by sheriffs around the country, like Sheriff Mike Lewis of Maryland, which has among the strictest gun control laws in the country.
“State police and highway patrol get their orders from the governor,” Lewis said. “I get my orders from the citizens in this county.”
In New York, the state’s sheriff’s association has denounced the NY SAFE Act, which bans certain rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and has stirred civil liberty debates throughout the state.
Sheriff Tony Desmond of Schoharie County, NY said, “If you have a weapon, which under the SAFE Act is considered illegal, I don’t look at it as being illegal just because someone said it was.”
Sheriff Richard Devlin of Otsego County, NY thinks similarly. “I won’t do anything as far as confiscating weapons. We’re not checking out registrations. People that are lawfully using a firearm for target shooting, we’re not bothering those people,” he told News21.
As they say, “all politics is local”. It’s likely that the county- and state-level grass roots efforts of common citizens will define a new line between gun control and gun rights. One thing is for certain, they have more votes than all the billionaires combined.
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