BELLEVUE, WA – Following reports of disappearing yard signs that urge voters to reject anti- rights Initiative 1639 in at least three Washington State counties, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms announced today that it will press charges against anyone caught removing such signs.
CCRKBA has learned of sign thefts in Whatcom, King and Yakima counties. The signs, produced by the National Rifle Association – which has joined forces with CCRKBA and the Washington Arms Collectors – are being placed at key locations around the state by hundreds of grassroots volunteers.
“This is not the first time we’ve faced this kind of activity from anti-gunners,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “In October 2014, we actually sought leniency for a former Bellevue councilwoman who was caught removing our campaign signs for Initiative 591. She was a supporter of the competing gun control initiative, and she was publicly embarrassed by the incident.
“However, this time around, we’re not going to be so magnanimous,” he promised. “We are encouraging grassroots volunteers to watch for any sign removal or vandalism and report it immediately to the local police or sheriff’s department and we will pursue charges.
“There is no excuse for stealing someone else’s property,” Gottlieb said, “especially when it is done in an effort to suppress an opposing viewpoint. Our allies at the NRA have been spearheading the grassroots campaign against I-1639 and we’re all on a shoestring budget compared to the multi-million-dollar war chest amassed by the gun prohibition lobby in Seattle. Theft of yard signs represents a significant financial loss, and we’re not going to just roll over and take it.
“We realize that gun control is an emotional subject that can incite some people to do stupid things,” he observed. “But that doesn’t justify theft or destruction of yard signs, campaign posters, billboards or other forms of opposing political speech. While we can’t imagine that the I-1639 campaign would sanction such activity, we call on them to publicly discourage their supporters from such actions.
“We live in a Republic,” Gottlieb concluded, “but it’s not a banana Republic. This kind of childish vandalism doesn’t help their cause, and only suggests to us that some I-1639 supporters are feeling desperate, especially since law enforcement lined up against their measure this week.”