The lawsuit only addresses one small aspect of the law -- the restrictions it places on out-of-state gun owners. It says nothing about gun owners who live in Washington, nor does it mention that universal background checks are a clear infringement on the Constitution. Even if the lawsuit is successful, the worst aspects of I-594 will remain intact.
Why doesn’t the lawsuit challenge the legislation head on?
Because the organization behind it – the Second Amendment Foundation – does not believe that universal background checks are unconstitutional. It supports them.
Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb admitted this in a press release, saying:
“We’re not trying to stop background checks. We’re taking action against a poorly-written and unconstitutionally vague measure that criminalizes activities that are perfectly legal anywhere else in the country, thus striking at the very heart of a constitutionally-protected, fundamental civil right.”
This is not the first time that Gottlieb has promoted background checks – far from it. He endorsed the Manchin-Toomey Amendment that nearly passed U.S. Congress in 2013. Last year, he released a video calling on gun groups to “lead, not follow” on the issue of background checks.
Gottlieb says that gun owners have to compromise on background checks because otherwise we will be dismissed as “extremists”. He says that we have to give up our rights because it is the only way to keep the Second Amendment intact.
But the late Aaron Zelman, founder of Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, felt that Gottlieb had a different motivation for supporting background checks: fundraising. In August 2014, Claire Wolfe wrote:
“[Zelman] despised Alan Gottlieb and saw him as an opportunist who used scary mailings to turn SAF/CCRKBA into a fundraising factory. He saw Gottlieb as a person who needed and wanted ‘gun control’ because that’s what kept the money and the publicity flowing.”
The I-594 lawsuit is nothing more than a publicity stunt. It is not meant to protect gun rights. It is meant to raise money. Why else would a group that supports background checks take the trouble to challenge them – unless they thought there was money to be made?
It was recently reported that Gottlieb uses his gun rights groups to funnel money to the private companies that he owns:
“While tax documents show Gottlieb collects $72,000 in pay annually between Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee, millions of dollars raised by those nonprofits have gone to Gottlieb’s for-profit direct-mail business, Merril Associates. According to tax records nonprofits must file, Second Amendment Foundation paid Merril Associates $4.1 million between 2002 and 2012, while Citizens Committee paid the company nearly $1.1 million in that time.”
There are millions of patriots in this country who won’t budge an inch in their support of the Second Amendment. It is a shame that some people will bargain away our rights just so they can turn a profit.