Knox, the son of gun rights pioneer Neal Knox, challenged Gottlieb over an initiative that Gottlieb is supporting on this year’s ballot in Washington State (I-591). The measure, which Gottlieb wrote, prohibits background checks in the state “unless a uniform national standard is required”.
As Knox pointed out at the GRPC, this language leaves the door wide open for a federal background check system. After Knox asked Gottlieb to defend this portion of the bill, Gottlieb launched into a full-scale support of background checks.
Gottlieb’s argument – which he has also made in the past – is that gun rights supporters should embrace background checks because they are inevitable. Pointing to polls stating that a majority of voters support background checks, he says that gun rights supporters are only hurting themselves by opposing them.
Gottlieb’s position infuriates no-compromise gun rights activists, who see any background check legislation as the first step on a slippery slope toward a federal gun registry. At the gun rights policy conference, Knox was joined by a chorus of audience members in ripping into Gottlieb’s argument.
But Gottlieb’s support of background checks also raises questions about his true motives in promoting I-591. Since he is such a big believer on background checks, why is he sponsoring a ballot initiative that theoretically bans them in the state of Washington? Why go to the trouble of writing and promoting a law that you fundamentally don’t agree with?
The answer is simple: money. Gottlieb is promoting I-591 not because he cares so much about banning background checks – clearly he doesn’t – but because he sees the law as an opportunity to conduct fundraising for his gun rights groups. So far, he claims to have nearly $1 million.
How much of that has he spent fighting for gun rights, and how much has he kept for himself? Is there any purpose to I-591 other than lining Alan Gottlieb’s pockets?