ballmer-headshotSteve and Connie Ballmer want the state of Washington to enforce stricter gun-buying laws, and they’re putting up some dough in order to make it happen.

The former Microsoft CEO and his wife have poured in nearly $600,000 to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a coalition that wants to require background checks for Washington residents who buy firearms at gun shows and online.

As noted by the Seattle PI, the pro-594 campaign — which has raised $3.4 million — was formed after the tragedy in Newton, Conn., in 2012. While licensed dealers in Washington are required to conduct background checks on gun buyers, those who purchase firearms from private sellers or online can do so without the same background checks.

Initiative 594, which will be on the November ballot, would close what the alliance calls a “loophole.”

Nick Hanauer
Nick Hanauer

“Law enforcement agencies and public safety officials agree that this loophole promotes illegal gun trafficking and enables individuals with criminal intent to purchase firearms,” the alliance notes. “This initiative will simply ensure that a background check is conducted for every gun purchase.”

Seattle-based venture capitalist Nick Hanauer is also a supporter for I-594 and has contributed nearly $400,000. Hanauer found himself in the news last month after a supporter for Initiative-591, a competing measure that would prevent Washington from enacting background check requirements that are not required by federal law, brought up Hanauer’s Jewish faith when comparing I-594 to Nazi Germany.

This is the most that the Ballmer family has contributed to an initiative. Connie Ballmer put $500,000 toward a public charter school ballot measure that passed in 2012, while Steve Ballmer contributed $425,000 to stop an initiative in 2010 that would have implemented a state income tax for the wealthiest 1 percent in Washington.

Meanwhile, Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise became official today.

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  • Guest

    Excellent. Thank you, Steve, for helping take guns out of the hands of madmen.

    • The Contrarian

      You bet – those madmen are law-abiding citizens, so this will certainly work.

      • Guest

        That’s where you’re wrong, Contrarian!

        Gun-buying madmen break the law. By adding more laws, we can arrest them more times and we can gaol and imprison them for longer durations.

        The law-abiding madmen, like those on the bus muttering to themselves, may stay. What do you think of that, Contrarian!

        • The Contrarian

          Your logic astounds me – more laws means that we can arrest them more times? And this will help those people that were killed by said madmen with an illegally-obtained a weapon how?
          How are those gun laws working for Chicago? Zero shootings, right?

          • Guest

            Dead people are dead. Not even we liberals can resurrect them.

            Chicago is outside our jurisdiction.

            We will arrest and incarcerate the men who wish to slaughter me. Every potential murderer off the streets is like a feather in my cap.

          • Mongo the pawn

            You need a Patriot Chip to the forehead.

        • Mongo the pawn

          You madam are dumber than a ship load of hammers.

    • Mongo the pawn

      You’re a special kind of stupid, are’t ya Libtard?

  • MC

    Did you purposely call the competing measure 594 to confuse the readers. The competing measure is 591. 594 is 35 pages long, totally unreadable. 591 is 2 pages. Even the writers or 594 do not know what is in it.

    • Taylor Soper

      Thanks for catching, just fixed it — you’re right, the competing measure is I-591.

  • The Lord’s Warrior

    Simply dumb and very dangerous; but what the fearful desire.

    • cpontherock

      no fear here, just common sense.. but I’ll bite. how is it ‘dangerous”?

      • Ace

        It’s dangerous because many common situations like two friends shooting a rifle together on a farm, or plinking at targets in the state forest (both legal today) are now felonies without running a background check every time the rifle is transferred. There are narrow exceptions for transfers within families and in organized competitions, but the bill was clearly written by someone either unfamiliar with the shooting sports or with an agenda to greatly restrict shooting sports.

        Meanwhile, criminals have always ignored the law, so effectively this law has a high chance of making felons of innocent gun owners without having a positive impact on crime.

        I don’t support ineffective laws written by lobby groups that will put innocent people in jail, and I don’t like the approach of “let’s pass this law to find out what’s in it” that the proponents of 594 have adopted. When challenged on this topic in the Seattle Times video debate, none of them could clearly address how/why ordinary gun owners wouldn’t become felons.

        Anyway, what percentage of recent crimes in Seattle have been committed by guns purchased at gun shows? I have yet to see any credible data presented on this topic.

        California has a far higher level of gun violence than WA, and it has some of the tightest laws in the country.

    • GT16

      Totally agree with you The Lord’s Warrior. Too many people on here use such dangerous language like “Common sense” like they know what they’re talking about. You think Balmer would done something smart and worth while like donating to Gang Violence Prevention or housing the homeless? Nope. Huge waste of 600K$!!!!

  • MC

    I rear the bad guy less than those that support 594. At least the bad guys are recognizable.

  • cpontherock

    common sense. which is why 70% of voters support it.

    • Mongo the pawn

      You Libtards wouldn’t know common sense if it biatch slapped you into next week.

      • cpontherock

        good thing republitards support it too. A minority of fringe gun nuts who eat up NRA propaganda are the only ones who support armed felons.

  • SteveB

    Steve is a sucker, they already do background checks at Gun Shows and Online. And, this doesn’t stop the thugs getting guys. They already have them. Someone just got a bunch of money from Steve to go on trips….

  • krisdahl

    GeekWire normally does a pretty good job, but are perpetuating a misconception. You already can’t buy a gun online without going through an FFL (which is a dealer, and requires the same background check as if you bought from the dealer). Also can’t buy from a dealer at a gun show. Seriously most of what this law supposedly makes illegal already is.

    • GT16

      Finally some one who knows what he’s talking about.

    • Ballmerisright

      Wrong, krisdahl. Not sure where you live, but there is no requirement for background checks at gun shows in Washington State. Also, Internet purchases are unregulated, unless the online dealer is already licensed.

      • Mongo the pawn

        WRONG moron. If you buy a gun from a dealer, a background check will be done through the Federal Background check. Now, private seller’s aren’t required to do a background check which is the ‘loophole’ these dorks think they’ll be closing. Criminals don’t give a GD about the law and this only serves as a feel good measure to appease brain dead Libtards such as yourself. Seriously, go play in traffic and stop wasting my Jerk Russel Terrorizer’s precious oxygen.

        • FFLclass3

          It’s always the people that don’t own guns or are afraid of guns that never seem to know the correct laws! I guess the libtards have never heard of a FFL transfer LOL. Ordering guns online with out a FFL transfer Haaa! What a crock!
          He just wasted $600K for nothing LOL
          Amen to my 2nd amendment brothers and sisters out there!!

        • Ballmerisright

          Such brilliant reasoning. The problem, Mongo and Jerk, is that it is LAWFUL for criminals to buy guns without a background check. Please give me ONE GOOD REASON why that should be lawful. …… I’m waiting….

  • Ace

    Taylor, your description of 594 in the second paragraph is incorrect. It requires background checks for gun transfers, not just buying guns. The devil is in the details.

    “Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 9.41 RCW to read as follows:
    (1) All firearm sales or transfers, in whole or part in this state including without limitation a sale or transfer where either the purchaser or seller or transferee or transferor is in Washington, shall be subject to background checks unless specifically exempted by state or federal law.”


    Typical progressive. Throw money at it.

    At least it’s his own money.

    But the idea that you can buy the political results you want is offensive to the very fabric of our First Principles.

  • Alex Novikoff

    Since when have you been able to order guns online without a background check? Mail ordering of firearms has been illegal since 1968. Stop spreading misinformation. The entire I-594 campaign is being based upon lies. The law would prohibit private transfers of firearms including “temporary transfers” such as letting a friend shoot or handle a gun at an informal shooting area or even on your own private property. This law would also double the waiting period for handguns and force all handgun transfers to go through the Washington State department of licensing. Nothing in this law would do anything to lower crime or stop another mass shooting. It is a bad law that will just make more criminals out of once law-abiding citizens who unknowingly break the law by holding or shooting their friend’s/family member’s guns.

    • socrates

      Somehow folks here assume that it is ok to kill animals – legitimate shooting you call it. Why is it ok to kill them with these weapons. The animals can’t even protect themselves – this is the height of cowardice. And it is called a game!!
      So much about our culture is wrong here. I like Steve for taking a stand on this issue.

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