Rally may be counterproductive, gun rights advocates say

Chris Erickson describes himself as “your typical gun owner who wants to be left alone.”

But state Initiative 594 “woke me up to the fact that we can’t be left alone any more.”

Saturday, the Camano Island carpenter plans to be at the state Capitol alongside other gun owners angered by passage of the universal background check measure they view as an unlawful encroachment on their Second Amendment rights.

He’s coming to add his voice to the chorus of demonstrators at the 11 a.m. rally in Olympia and help ignite a conversation about keeping I-594 backers from advancing their gun-control agenda any farther.

Yet what could be a galvanizing event for the state’s gun-rights movement is getting shunned by some of better-known leaders. They’re worried what might occur there could undermine efforts to fend off additional restrictions on gun owners.

The rally is dubbed “We Will Not Comply,” and civil disobedience is anticipated. People are bringing weapons to not only wave in the air but, in open defiance of the law, to sell or trade to others without first conducting a background check on the recipient.

“To be honest, I don’t think this rally will really accomplish anything,” said Adina Hicks, executive director of Bellevue-based Protect Our Gun Rights, the group formed to oppose I-594 and push a countermeasure, Initiative 591, which failed to pass.

“They don’t have a further goal. They want to break the law. That frankly is not what we need right now. What we need is action,” she said. “What we need is people contacting their legislators and getting the Legislature involved to fix the nightmare that is 594.”

Protect Our Gun Rights is part of a coalition organizing a Jan. 15 rally at the Capitol, after which participants will meet with lawmakers. Other groups include the Gun Rights Coalition, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Second Amendment Foundation, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Pink Pistols.

“Standing out there on Dec. 13 will show there are a lot of people upset. I want to do more than make noise. I want to make change,” said Rick Halle, national coordinator of the Gun Rights Coalition. “At this point, a good part of us see it as the voters have had their chance and now the Legislature or the judiciary is where we need to deal with this.”

But he is going to be a spectator Saturday.

“I am supporting the cause,” he said. “I can’t say if I’ll support the message until I hear it.”

Kit Lange of Lake Stevens is one of those coming to Olympia who is certain to make the likes of Hicks and Halle nervous.

“We are going to buy guns and sells guns,” she said. “I will be trading a gun to someone else, and they will be trading one to me. We are going to nullify the law by our actions.”

Lange, a scheduled speaker, said she’ll talk about how the fight is now about more than an initiative and more than the right to keep and bear arms — it is about protecting the freedom and liberty of every citizen.

She’s not looking to get arrested but said, “If that’s what it takes we will. It is OK to stand up to tyrannical laws.

“We are not anti-government,” she said. “If you are going to defend liberty, you have to be willing to defend it all the way.”

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos.

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