A slate of national and state antigovernment “Patriot” movement figures—including former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, antigovernment propagandist Mike Vanderboegh and Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy—is scheduled to lead Saturday’s “We Will Not Comply” rally in Olympia, Wash., protesting a gun-control measure taking effect this month.
Organized by self-described “liberty speaker” Gavin Seim, the rally’s stated purpose is to openly defy the new law, known as Initiative 594, which requires background checks for guns sold by private gun owners.
“We will rally at the capitol, openly exchange guns, unveil and plan to break apart the entire legislation and violate I-594 in every possible way. … We will buy and sell guns from whom we please, we will not submit to background checks, we will not give up our rights, WE WILL NOT comply,” the rally’s organizers say.
The organizers claim that 5,000 gun owners will attend, but the source of that figure is unclear and historically such rallies have drawn considerably smaller crowds. It also remains unclear if the rally even has a permit, typically required for demonstrations on Capitol grounds.
Seim, when told by state officials that a permit wasn’t available because another group had already been given a permit for that date, responded defiantly: “First let’s be clear. We are not asking for your ‘authorization’ and we’re not ‘applying’ to the State. We are allowing them the opportunity to work with us. I did in fact clearly inform you we would be gathering on the main lawn right from the start and there was no doubt about where I meant. What I have outlined is what we ARE doing. … We informed you of the plan out of courtesy. You can work with us, or you can play games.”
It is uncler clear if the activities that occur Saturday will actually break any laws, and Washington State Police officials say they do not expect to make any arrests at the rally.
The rally’s scheduled speakers include Mack, a longtime militia darling who recently made headlines with his involvement in the standoff with federal agents at Bundy’s Nevada ranch, where Ammon Bundy also became well-known as a media spokesman for his family. At one point in the standoff, Ammon Bundy was tasered after law enforcement officials say he tried to kick a police dog.
Vanderboegh, a cofounder of the so-called “III Percent” Movement, was also at the Bundy ranch but is perhaps best known for having urged conservatives to throw bricksthrough the windows of Democrats’ offices in March 2010 to protest the passage of the Affordable Care Act. In recent weeks he has toured states where gun control laws have been passed to promote the “I Will Not Comply” concept.
“I have gone around the country breaking (and encouraging others to break) unconstitutional state laws such as those recently passed in CT, NY, MD, CO and now, Washington State,” he boasted on his blog. “I have smuggled, and facilitated the smuggling of, standard capacity magazines in violation of those laws and dared the authorities of those states to do anything about it.”
Washington state Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, an arch-conservative who has aligned herself closely with antigovernment activists, is also among the scheduled speakers. Scott gained a reputation for arch-conservative positions during her first two years in the House, including second-guessing federal cleanup efforts at the Oso landslide disaster that occurred in Snohomish County in March.
The Oath Keepers, a group of retired military and police personnel fearful of the New World Order, posted a bulletin urging members to attend. However, a number of the state’s leading anti-gun control organizations, including the National Rifle Association and Alan Gottlieb’s Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, have declined either to endorse or participate in the rally.
Seim recently issued a final appeal on Facebook to the reluctant gun owners: “I'm sad to report that nearly ALL gun rights and show groups and even some patriot groups have NOT supported America's courageous stand for liberty on the 13th,” he wrote. “We the people in mass are standing tall, but those that should be standing with us are silent. I ask patriots to contact groups tomorrow and invite them to stand with us.”