Bill Gates Donates One Million Dollars to Gun-Control Initiative

by Charles C. W. Cooke

The Huffington Post reports:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $1 million to a Washington state campaign seeking to expand background checks on gun sales, bringing the total amount the campaign has brought in up to nearly $6 million.

The donation to the Initiative 594 campaign was given Friday, but it was not made public until Monday, when it posted on the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website.

Initiative 594 has attracted support from a number of well-heeled types:

The large donation comes on the heels of fellow Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s $500,000 donation earlier this month. Also last week, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer donated an additional $1 million, bring his total donation to the campaign to nearly $1.4 million.

Other prominent figures who have made large donations to the campaign include former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, who have given $580,000.

A rival campaign, Initiative 591, would prevent the state from adopting background-check laws that go beyond the national standard, which requires the checks for sales by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers. That campaign has raised just over $1 million so far.

Per NBC, polling in the state shows that the more restrictive initiative is almost certainly going to pass:

A new poll shows strong support among Washington voters for a ballot initiative that would require background checks on all firearm sales in the state.

The Elway Poll found that 70 percent of people were inclined to vote for Initiative 594. The same poll showed that 46 percent of people were inclined to vote for a competing measure, Initiative 591, which would prevent Washington state from adopting background-check laws stricter than the national standard.

If you’re thinking that this doesn’t make much sense, you’re right:

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they were inclined to vote for both initiatives in November.

Okay, then.