Conservative activist Gavin Seim, the organizer of a December 13 protest against Washington state's new background check law, is an anti-government extremist who participated in the standoff at Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch and defended the rancher's racist comments. He has also suggested a violent revolution may be necessary if he is not satisfied with the outcome of his protest.
Conservative Activist Gavin Seim Plans Protest Over Washington State Background Check Ballot Initiative
Washington Voters Overwhelmingly Approved Ballot Initiative To Expand Background Checks On Gun Sales. Ballot initiative I-594, which passed with 59 percent support, will expand background checks on gun sales to purchases online and at gun shows. [The Huffington Post, accessed 11/19/14]
Conservative Activist Gavin Seim Organizes Protest To “Violate I-594 In Every Way Possible.” Seim wants protesters to gather at Washington's state capitol and exchange firearms without undergoing background checks:
The group's Facebook page, decorated with a drawing of two crossed assault rifles, voices its opposition in “early Armageddon” prose. I-594 requires criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms at gun shows and on lines, as is now the case with guns bought from federally licensed firearms dealers.
“Will you bow down and lick the boots of tyranny or will you stand for the liberty of your children? I am Gavin Seim and I for one will not comply,” says the Facebook page.
Seim ran in the August primary for Congress in the 4th District. He received 1.97 percent of the vote.
Initiative 594 passed with 59.1 percent of the vote, or 1,171,879 votes at latest county, to 40.88 percent against or 810,376 votes.
But organizers of the December rally say they will not wait for legal challenges or action by the Legislature. They will disobey.
“We will buy and sell guns from whom we please,” says the Facebook page. "We will not submit to background checks. We will not give up our rights. WE WILL NOT comply.
“We will rally at the capital, openly exchange guns, unveil and plan to break part the entire legislation and violate I-594 in every way possible.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/12/14]
Washington State Patrol Will Not Arrest Protesters Because It's Not Clear Their Actions Will Violate The New Law. Under I-594, the temporary transfer of a firearm does not necessitate a background check:
But the group that led the campaign for I-594 said earlier this week the new law would not make temporarily handing a gun to someone else a crime.
Washington State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins says troopers have no plans to arrest anyone. “We're not sure we can prove that's a transfer under the law,” Calkins says. “And we really try to be very accommodating of people who come to the state capitol to express political opinions, engage in free speech.”
However, Calkins says the state patrol is asking demonstrators to practice “good firearm safety practices” by handling guns safely and not pointing them at others or intimidating people. Calkins says the state patrol doesn't expect any problems. But troopers will be on hand to monitor the protest and step in if protesters do other things that violate the law or intimidate other capitol visitors.
Seim predicts upwards of 8,000 people will take part in the demonstration. [MyNorthwest.com, 11/14/14]
Seim Declares “ALL Gun Restrictions” Void. In a November 17 blog post promoting his protest, Seim wrote, “We the people, with the vested authority of absolute law, declare ALL gun restrictions and permits of ALL kinds to be VOID. If you want to buy or sell a tank, you have that right.” [CallMeGav.com, 11/17/14]
Speakers At Event Include Bundy Son, Anti-Government Militiaman Mike Vanderboegh
Seattle Gun Blogger Dave Workman: Ammon Bundy And Mike Vanderbeogh Will Be “Guest Speakers” At The “I Will Not Comply” Rally. [Seattle Gun Rights Examiner, 12/8/14]
Ammon Bundy Tased During “Altercation” With Law Enforcement After Kicking A Police Dog. Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, the lawless Nevada rancher who engaged in a standoff with the federal government over his refusal to pay for his herd's use of federal land. During one clash with law enforcement, Ammon was tased after kicking a police dog:
Demonstrators have rallied to support Bundy, leading to an altercation with law enforcement officials Wednesday, when one of Bundy's sons was tased after kicking a police dog.
Ammon Bundy said, “Then they tased me again, and they pulled it out again, probably because I didn't drop on the ground.” [CBSNews.com, 4/11/14]
Anti-Government Militia Leader Mike Vanderboegh Allegedly Inspired A Georgia Domestic Terror Plot. Vanderboegh, who incited vandalism at congressional offices following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, is also the leader of the Three Percenter militia movement which contends that an armed three percent of the population could violently overthrow the government. According to a 2011 criminal complaint, four Georgia men who plotted to attack five major U.S. cities with ricin and assassinate government officials were inspired by the plot of Vanderboegh's book Absolved. [Mother Jones, 12/14/11, Mike Vanderboegh, 2/27/10, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia via Media Matters, 11/1/11]
Seim Participated In The Bundy Ranch Standoff
Seim Traveled To The Bundy Ranch After Talking To Cliven Bundy And Finding Him To Be “Somebody Who Understood The Constitution.” Seim hosted an April 26 discussion of the Bundy ranch standoff where he described calling Bundy and deciding to join his cause:
SEIM: I called and I got Cliven Bundy on the phone, and I chatted with him for ten or 15 minutes and this was early on enough that you could actually get ahold of him, and I try to do this often, especially in the office I'm running for because I like to be communicated, my platform is to put things out there and take them head on but at the same time I'd like to make sure my facts are straight and that I know what I'm talking about. So I called directly and chatted with this man and what I realized is this, this was not an anarchist looking for freebies or that just hates government this was somebody who understood the Constitution, the foundations of America, and who wanted us to be focused on that. [Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim: Federal Law Enforcement Enforcing Court Order Against Bundy Were “Impersonating Officers.” During his talk, Seim expressed the belief that officers of the Bureau of Land Management were illegally impersonating law enforcement officers and could have been removed by local sheriffs:
SEIM: If you take an agency like the BLM and you put them in a position where suddenly they are law enforcement, they are enforcing at the point of a gun, they are rustling cattle, they are arresting people without authority. What you have in this situation is the BLM impersonating officers because the BLM are not officers. And I've taken this directly from sheriffs, there are sitting sheriffs saying if we have the BLM carrying out these actions within our county, we will remove them for impersonating officers, because the sheriff in this county is who has authority. [Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim: Bundy Supporters Did Not Point Guns At Federal Law Enforcement Because Those Agents Were Not Real “Officers Of The Law.” During the Bundy ranch standoff it was widely reported that supporters of Bundy pointed guns at BLM agents. Confronted by an audience member angry about these actions, Seim said, “There was no officers there, there was illegal federal agents ... You know who the officers of the law in that situation were? It was the people.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 7/10/14, Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim: “The Second American Revolution Almost Started” At The Bundy Ranch. Seim claimed that the Bundy standoff almost started a revolution because “hundreds of people were willing to die for your liberty” at the ranch. [Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim: Bundy Supporters Were “Ready To Defend Themselves If Need Be.” [Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim Defended Bundy After His Racist Comments Came To Light
Cliven Bundy: “I Want To Tell You One More Thing I Know About The Negro.” On April 24, 2014, The New York Times reported on racist commentary offered by Bundy to reporters where he said African-Americans “never learned how to pick cotton” and wondered whether they would be better off as slaves:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids -- and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch -- they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do. ”And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked.
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” [The New York Times, 4/24/14]
Seim Was “Ashamed Of America” Because Of Backlash Against Bundy. In his April talk, which occurred days after Bundy's racist rant, Seim defended Bundy, stating, “if you go and you listen to the context of what the man said, it's not what it's being made out to be”:
SEIM: My reaction is Cliven Bundy is an old gentleman and he says things that I wouldn't say and I think he likes to talk and to ramble and the media loves that because it gives them the opportunity to pick things out. And if you go and you listen to the context of what the man said, it's not what it's being made out to be. And to be honest, I am ashamed of America this week. I am ashamed that in America we follow along with a forged label of racism that we place on people. I'm ashamed that we're in fear when that word comes out, when the liberals and the progressives try and demand that we attack someone. [Gavin Seim via YouTube, 4/28/14]
Seim: Bundy Is A Victim Of “The Racist Spin Machine.” On his website, Seim wrote that Bundy was being “honest about what liberals have done with race,” that liberals want “all races to be slaves to government,” and that Bundy's comment was “a slip of the tongue”:
Let me say that after listening Cliven Bundy's complete words, rather than media rhetoric, I'm ashamed of those who claim to be conservative yet are readily getting on board the racist spin machine. We should stop playing this game that says one cannot be honest about what liberals have done with race. The real racism today is spouting like waste from the divisive liberals who oppose liberty and seek to keep us all divided against each other.
The only equality progressive liberals want is for all classes and all races to be slaves to government.
Racism is of course a vile thing. But it is clearly defined as placing ones self as above another race and not by a slip of the tongue. [CallMeGav.com, 4/24/14]
Seim Calls For Violence Against The Government If He Is Not Satisfied With The Outcome Of His Protest
Seim Suggests Violent Insurrection Against The Government: “We Have Right And Duty To Use Any Force Necessary Against A Lawless Agency Who Has Declared War On Us.” In a November 22 blog post promoting his I-594 protest, Seim suggested that a violent revolution may be needed to overthrow the government. He wrote, “Today I say what everyone is avoiding. REVOLUTION! ... We have the God given right to revolution. Why? Because we have a right to defend life.” Seim also suggested that if he is not satisfied by the outcome of his December 13 protest that “we have a moral obligation to destroy” the government:
Today I say what everyone is avoiding. REVOLUTION!
That felt good. Now share it from the rooftops, because it's time to end this false shame. Say aloud that terrible thing we pray never comes. Bloody Revolution!
We have made a terrible mistake. We have taught ourselves to believe that enemies are without. That we cannot not respond to those within as we would a murderous assailant.
We have the God given right to revolution. Why? Because we have a right to defend life. With it we have an obligation to prudence and principle. Honorable revolt is simply a defense from the lawless.
When government violates the peoples [sic] rights they are the worst enemy of all. They have in every sense declared WAR on their own under color of law and despite an oath of obedience to those people. To defend against them is the duty of a man to his brother. Our response should be fierce and immediate.
Any agent of government who attempts to take away liberty and our means to defend it; should be treated in every respect as the rapist or murderer at our doorstep.
Stand principled, don't throw the first punch, or fire that first shot. But if we will save liberty, we cannot cower before the invading force. No matter what patch they wear, or what oath they swear. We have right and duty to use any force necessary against a lawless agency who has declared war on us.
On December 13th we fire a metaphorical shot across the bow on an invading force. If they continue to attack rather than retreat, we have a moral obligation to destroy them for the preservation of peace and the safety of our families.
Seim Discusses A “Revolution Of Our Hearts” Before “A Revolution Of The Sword.” In a January 2 post on his blog, Seim posted an image suggesting that a precursor for a successful violent revolution would be a “revolution of our hearts”:
Seim: If Everyone Had A Gun, “Every Criminal, Thug And Tyrant Would Think TWICE Before They Assaulted Liberty.” In a December 4, 2013 blog post Seim argued that every “free American” should have a gun without a background check as a defense against tyranny:
I think the safest thing we could do is to put a Bible and a Constitution in EVERY pocket - Then put GUN in the hand of EVERY free American. NO permits, NO background checks, NO registration. Teach EVERY child to use one, encourage EVERY mother to carry one -- With a gun in EVERY belt, every criminal, thug and tyrant would think TWICE before they assaulted liberty - While there in every pocket, would be the tools to know what liberty really is. [CallMeGav.com, 12/4/13]
Seim On Government “Terrorists”: “Stand Against The Evil And Drive It Out.” In a June 23, 2013 blog post, Seim wrote, “A government that violates the rights of it's [sic] people has become the terrorists”:
A terrorist is by definition one who terrorize or frightens people. Tell me. Who do you have more terror of. Your government, or the terrorists they claim to be protecting you from?
There is good and there is evil. We cannot win against the evil by cowardice. By cooperating with evil and tyranny because it's easier TODAY. Offering the olive leaf to evil only offers them permission to abuse you all the more.
A government that violates the rights of it's [sic] people has become the terrorists - A government that violates our constitution is commuting terror against the people. Do not negotiate with terrorists, stand against the evil and drive it out.
Those working with the terror of injustice and tyranny do not deserve your respect. They have become the terrorists and they should be treated with the disdain well deserved. It's irrelevant that they are “doing their job” as they so often say. The moment their job become assaulting innocent people and they went along with that, they became the representatives of tyranny, terror and evil. [CallMeGav.com, 6/23/13]
Echoing Other Gun Extremists, Seim Says Protesters “Will Act In Principled Self-Defense Only If Needed”
Seim Raises Possibility Protesters Will Use Guns In “Self-Defense” At Event. In a November 17 blog post, Seim wrote that his protest “is in no way a call to violence” but that protesters “will act in principled self-defense only if needed”:
I want to be clear about the I Will Not Comply movement starting Dec 13th. This is in no way a call to violence. This is a people of peace and faith and liberty gathering stand with our loved ones and brothers for principle.
Read my lips news media: The citizens should be armed EQUAL to government! When a lawless government declares war on liberty we must not tolerate such a violation. We have protested for too long. We are not asking judges or legislators for permission. We gather peacefully and will act in principled self-defense only if needed. But we will defend our birthright. Think this sounds radical? That's why I posted it. [CallMeGav.com, 11/17/14, emphasis in original]
Lawless Rancher Cliven Bundy: I Will “Do Whatever It Takes” To Prevent Seizure Of My Cattle. Bundy told Los Angeles Times that he kept firearms on his ranch and would “do whatever it takes” to prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing a court order to confiscate his cattle because of Bundy's longstanding refusal to pay grazing fees for his use of federal land:
That hasn't happened -- yet -- and the rancher insists his cattle aren't going anywhere. He acknowledges that he keeps firearms at his ranch and has vowed to “do whatever it takes” to defend his animals from seizure.
“I've got to protect my property,” Bundy said as Arden steered several cattle inside an elongated pen. “If people come to monkey with what's mine, I'll call the county sheriff. If that don't work, I'll gather my friends and kids and we'll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/23/13]
Adam Kokesh On His Plan To Illegally March With Guns In Washington D.C.: “This Will Be A Non-Violent Event, Unless The Government Chooses To Make It Violent.” In May 2013, Kokesh -- a former host for Russian state-sponsored outlet RT -- organized an event where protesters would openly carry firearms in the District of Columbia, in violation of local laws. While describing the event in a Facebook post, Kokesh wrote, “This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.” Kokesh later cancelled the event but called for “an orderly dissolution of the federal government” and warned that if the dissolution was not successful in one year's time “we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible.” Kokesh was later arrested on weapons charges after filming himself loading a shotgun in a Washington public park. [ThinkProgress.org, 5/5/13, Media Matters, 5/29/13, The Washington Post, 7/10/13]