Thank You, Paul Allen, for Standing Up to the NRA on Behalf of Endangered Species

Yes on I-1401For decades, the National Rifle Association has relied on its deep pockets to frighten lawmakers into surrendering to its legislative agenda. But like most bullies, once you call the NRA’s bluff, there’s not much left to back up all the bluster. As Joel Connelly reports on

After going after entrepreneur Nick Hanauer during the Initiative 594 battle last year, [NRA Olympia lobbyist Brian] Judy has now drawn a bead on Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who has championed Initiative 1401.  The initiative would prohibit the purchase, sale or distribution of products from much-poached land and sea creatures, including elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, sea turtles and sharks.

At an NRA-sponsored event in Federal Way, Judy boasted that I-1401 is only on the ballot “because we were successful defeating Legislation in Olympia,” before going on to attack Allen as a “huge billionaire.” The NRA had also killed universal gun background checks in the legislature before voters overwhelmingly approved I-594 at the ballot. Judy was forced to disappear for the final months of that campaign after being caught on tape ridiculing me as a “billionaire plutocrat” who supported “the same policy that got his family run out of Germany by the Nazis.”

That’s just offensive. But I understand Judy’s frustration. The NRA had grown accustomed to getting its own way by virtue of dramatically outspending its opponents. But they can’t possibly outspend a hugely passionate billionaire advocate like Paul Allen backing a hugely popular measure like I-1401.

So my prediction is that, apart from a few brash words, the NRA will back down—just like it did against I-594. And when Allen has finished trouncing the NRA by a wide margin and throughout the state, he may want to add one more endangered species to I-1401’s list: the paper tiger.



Nick Hanauer