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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harsh Realities of Initiative 594

The dishonest anti-gun organizations won't tell you.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) talks a lot about how Initiative 594 will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  What they don’t report is that Initiative 594 is not aimed at criminals who, by definition, do not obey the law.

I-594 adds a ten day waiting period to delay acquiring a firearm (Section 4, 2).  The weight of 594 falls on the law-abiding citizen.  

I-594 would not be an effective crime deterrent and would only impose heavy burdens and legal hurdles for law-abiding citizens who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The reality is that criminals will still acquire firearms where they do now: the black market, straw purchasers, theft and illicit sources such as drug dealers.  Criminals are criminals -- I 594 does not discriminate between the law abiding and the criminals.

Law enforcement resources, however, will be diverted by I-594 to doing background checks on law-abiding, responsible gun owners who simply want to gift, loan, share and borrow firearms.

The "Gifting" Rules Intended to Confuse Voters

WAGR says that if I-594 is enacted, you would still be able to “gift” a firearm to an immediate family member without going through a background check.  That is, in fact, one of the few honest claims they make about I-594.

However, what WAGR doesn’t tell you is that, in virtually all other cases, you would be committing a gross misdemeanor if you were to simply hand a firearm to an immediate family member or close, personal friend unless you broker the "transfer" through a dealer (I-594, section 2, part 25, new definitions), complete the government paperwork, pay the fees, subject the transfer to Washington State Use Tax (I-594, section 11) and, in the case of handguns, have the transferee added to the state registration database of law-abiding handgun owners.

Bureaucratic Burdens

WAGR is NOT honest about the extent to which law-abiding citizens will be impacted by their proposed 18-page monstrosity of bureaucracy, regulation taxation and state record keeping.  They claim that I-594 regulates private firearm “sales” and contains “reasonable” exemptions.

In reality, I-594 regulates all firearm “transfers” and the exemptions are so narrow and limited that, in most cases, they will not apply.

Let's take a look at their proposed language:  Again, I-594 regulates private firearm transfers and defines “transfer” as “the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans. (I-594, section 2, 25)”  A few minutes spent with Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary will clarify that “intended” means “intentional,” and “deliver” means “to hand over.”

So, if you intentionally hand over a firearm to another person, you have just committed a gross misdemeanor under the provisions of I-594 (or a felony for a second occasion).

What might constitute an “unintentional” transfer?  Well, someone stealing your firearm would certainly be a transfer you did not intend.  But that would not be covered by I-594 (see the first paragraph for the full ironic effect).

A Lesson in Hunting Under Initiative 594

So, yes, as WAGR boasts about their exemptions, a father could “gift” a shotgun to his son.  But if Dad wanted to borrow the shotgun back from his son to use for a weekend hunting trip, that transfer would be subject to the I-594 bureaucracy.   And, for Dad to return the shotgun to his son, it is back to the dealer to go through the whole process again!

While WAGR claims there is an exemption for hunting, it is unworkably narrow [I-594, section 4, f; (v)].

If you are out hunting with your Dad or lifelong friend and his firearm malfunctions, you could loan them a spare as long as they only possess it where hunting is legal.  But, as described before, you could not loan them a firearm to take on a trip without you. 

Further, under the “while hunting” exemption, here's what happens when they cross a road (from which hunting is illegal).  Either you carry the firearm across the road for them or you have just committed a gross misdemeanor.

Wide-Ranging Criminalization of Firearm Transfers

There is an exemption for the temporary transfer of a firearm “at an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located [ I-594, section 4, (f)]."  By the way, Does anyone know of any shooting ranges "authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction" in Washington State?

While this exemption allows you to loan your firearm to a family member or friend to shoot at an authorized range, you would become a criminal if you make the same loan while target shooting on public land.

When this was pointed out to WAGR Spokesperson Cheryl Stumbo during debate, her response was that you shouldn’t be shooting on public land anyway because it is not safe and that, family shooting trips on public land are “one in a million…extreme hypothetical examples.  If you want to go on public land to shoot guns, go hunting.” (Click Here to Watch the Full Debate)That should give you an idea where the proponents of I-594 are headed!

Age is Everything

One final example of the deeply flawed provisions of Initiative 594: -- There is another exemption for the temporary transfer of a firearm to a person who is under 18 years of age while under the direct supervision of a responsible adult.  So, if you are out shooting on public land with your 17-year old daughter, you can hand over your firearm for her to shoot.

But next week in the same location, after celebrating her 18th birthday, you can no longer allow her to handle your firearm without brokering the transfer through a licensed firearms dealer.  She is adult; "bona fide" gifts are allowed, not temporary loans [I 594, section 4, (a)].

But WAGR is apparently okay with that because they believe you shouldn't be shooting on public land anyway (You have to play the video).

For more information about the harsh realities of Initiative 594 and why Washingtonians must Vote No on this November's ballot, please visit and share with your friends, family and fellow Second Amendment supporters our website

Much text is supplied by the National Rifle Association, a grassroots organization of 5 million gun owners.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is maintained by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, with one million dollars donated by Bill Gates.
Which organization more closely represents your interests?

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