While Mike Bloomberg and his billionaire buddies were spending upward of $10 million to implement a firearms registration scheme in Washington State, Bloomberg’s minions were hard at work initiating a similar assault on the rights of the people of Nevada. Nevadans for Background Checks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. As typical with the Bloomies, the “group” is touted as a local grass roots effort, but is funded, directed and staffed primarily by Bloomberg and his professional rights abusers. A few local extremists are included as window-dressing.
Everytown’s Washington, D.C., attorney reserved the Nevadans for Background Checks name with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office earlier this year. Filing information for the PAC and nonprofit corporation formed to push for the initiative, which significantly changes the state’s firearm transfer laws, lists Tara Paone as “director, president” of the nonprofit and as “director” of the PAC. Tara Paone is elsewhere listed as treasurer for Everytown for Gun Safety in New York, and was listed as the director of the Everytown fund in support of I-594 in Washington. Ms. Paone’s LinkedIn profile says she is a professional manager for nonprofits and that she resides in New York City. The address listed for her on the Nevada paperwork appears to be a street address, but is actually a post office box. The other person listed on the PAC and incorporation paperwork, as treasurer and director respectively, is an attorney and lobbyist named Matt Griffin, who appears to be an actual resident of the state.
In early November, the Bloomberg front group submitted more than 240,000 signatures in its petition drive to get the initiative on the November 2015 ballot. There have been no financial filings from either the PAC or the nonprofit yet, but the effort was clearly expensive. We should get a better idea of just how expensive in mid-January when their financial disclosure reports should be available.
Meanwhile, another Bloomberg entity, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, was busy pumping other money into Nevada leading up to the midterm elections. Their Nevada disclosure forms show that the fund spent more than $1,039,000 in the state, though they only brought in $232,775 during the reporting period – all of which was personally contributed by Michael R. Bloomberg. The disclosure forms also show that $650,000 of that went directly to the Nevada Democratic Party. About $25,000 went to a couple of Nevada candidates and local PACs, and almost all of the rest went to printers, mailers and political consulting firms located in other states – mostly on the East Coast. The Bloomberg supported legislative candidates were defeated, by the way.
As soon as the ground-game for I-594 in Washington was completed, many of the paid “volunteers” from that campaign were transferred to Nevada, where some were reported to be paid as much as $5 per signature in the initiative petition effort. Local Nevada rights advocates – who actually live in the state and are true grass roots volunteers – say this looks like a violation of Nevada law. They point out that, while paying signature gatherers on an hourly basis is acceptable, paying them commissions per signature makes the gatherers commission sales people, which is forbidden because it provides incentive for them to distort the intent of the petition. They also point out that Nevada law identifies any door-to-door sales activity – including commissioned signature gathering – as sales, requiring both a business license and a solicitor’s license. Neither the Bloomberg front group nor the “volunteers” had such licenses.
As was the case in the Washington initiative, which passed by not quite 60 percent in the mid-term elections – in spite of an 8 to 1 spending advantage and the ongoing claim of support by more than 90 percent of Americans – the Nevada initiative is much more complex and far-reaching than its promoters let on. Along with creating a de facto registry of all gun purchases, the initiative is very specific about applying to all firearm “transfers” with only a narrow window of exceptions. This creates numerous pitfalls that can make criminals of gun owners who are not harming or endangering anyone. For instance, loaning a gun to a friend for a few days while her husband is away would be a crime unless she paid a fee and passed a background check. Even borrowing a buddy’s rifle to see if you wanted to buy one like it would be a crime.
The initiative is also very specific about requiring that the checks be run through the federal National Instant Check System, rather than the state-run background check system. That means regulatory control goes to the feds instead of the state. It also means that the feds would have access to all records of firearm transfers. There’s also a question whether requiring NICS checks for private transfers would require the state to abandon their current system completely and shift to the federal system for all sales and transfers. This would cost the state millions of dollars in revenue.
The fight in Nevada promises to be fierce and expensive. The Nevada Firearms Coalition is leading the charge against the initiative and has created a PAC and a nonprofit – directed and manned by Nevada citizens – called Nevadans for State Gun Rights, dedicated solely to this fight. So far we have seen little in the way of action from the NRA. Hopefully they will step up and make a better showing than they did in Washington.
Funds are going to be crucial in this fight. If you can help, I encourage you to make a contribution today at NevadansForStateGunRights.com. If you can’t make a monetary donation, contribute by sharing this story with every gun owner you know. Don’t just be an observer; get involved – with your money, your time and your friends. This isn’t just a Nevada problem. Bloomberg is going to be bringing this to every state he can, so the sooner we shut him down, the safer we’ll all be.
Media wishing to interview Jeff Knox, please contact [email protected].