Local media in Olympia, Washington, covered Gavin Seim’s “We Will Not Comply” pro-gun rally extensively, including interviews with some of Seim’s speakers and footage of him and some supporters burning their concealed weapons permits following the rally.
Nationally, Seim’s rally never happened. The mainstream media was too busy reporting on Al Sharpton’s ramping up of protesters’ anger at the shooting of Michael Brown and Eric Garner instead.
Between 1,000 and 3,000 showed up at Seim’s rally at the state capitol to protest passage of Initiative 594 which, among other restrictions, now requires gun owners to obtain a background check before transferring a handgun to another party. At the moment the law became effective at midnight, December 4, a You-Tube aggregator called “LaughingAtLiberals” (LAL) posted a video showing just such a transfer taking place — a Glock 22 for a fistful of dollars — without the now-requisite background check.
This deliberate act of non-compliance was enough for David Codrea, a field editor for GUNS Magazine who covered the event, to prove that Initiative 594 (i594) would have no effect on transfers among criminals who routinely defy such laws:
Showing [that these transfers] can be done without repercussions as a staged act of civil disobedience demonstrates that the entire justification behind i594 — “making sure that firearms don’t get into the hands of dangerous people” — is a premise unsupported by reality.
This is Seim’s entire premise. On his own website, Seim describes himself as a small business owner, a Christian, and a father. He’s also “a passionate activist who believes in American values and knows that liberty is not the fringe. It’s the foundation.”
That’s not what the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) thinks. On SPLC's “Hatewatch” column, David Neiwert gave his thoughts on Seim's purposes behind organizing the “We Will Not Comply” rally: "Gavin Seim believes that it’s self-evident that Washington state’s recently approved gun-control initiative is unconstitutional, which in turn means that the state’s citizens don’t have to obey [it]."
Seim, at his rally website, explains his real motivation:
On November 4, 2014 a piece of legislation called i594 passed in Washington State. It will make so much as handing a gun to a friend a felony. While this started here in Washington, it was funded by big out-of-state money.... We will stand for the liberty of our children. We’re not waiting for politicians, judges or lawyers. Our birthright is NOT to be touched. We gather and we will affirm that liberty….
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.
For Dave Workman, senior editor at TheGunMag.com and communications director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Seim’s rally proved at least two points: It could be peaceful, and the mere presence of firearms doesn’t result in increased crime. According to Workman,
[At the rally nobody] stopped traffic, smashed windows or clashed with the police. Nobody was arrested. Nobody got hurt. A handful of people … burned their concealed pistol licenses….
[Seim’s rally] showed that Evergreen State gun owners can hold peaceful events where guns are galore. Years of rhetoric from gun prohibitionists has suggested otherwise, that lots of people with guns is a recipe for disaster.
Firebrand Mike Vanderboegh, one of Seim’s rally speakers, called it a victory and a blueprint for other rallies in other venues in the future:
Olympia was a carefully-thought-out, brilliantly-conceived, flawlessly executed deliberate backhand to the same ginning bunch of constitutional thieves. Olympia provides a textbook case for other states to resist their own petty dictators….
They created a new paradigm. And at the end of it they were praised by the state police for their competence and their flawless execution of a brilliant plan.
The couple thousand people who showed up in the fog and the cold on Saturday at the capitol of a state with a population of seven million might, on its face, merit little attention from the national media. But it’s good to remember our Republic’s humble beginnings. As noted by another firebrand, Samuel Adams, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in the minds of men.”
Photo of protestors pledging allegience at the "We Will Not Comply" rally in Olympia, Washington: AP Images
A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics.