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Vote NO 594

The Many Harsh Realities of Initiative 594 Not Reported by Anti-Gun Organization

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 |09-15-2014

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 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.

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, complete the government paperwork, pay the fees, subject the transfer to Washington State Use Tax and, in the case of handguns, have the transferee added to the state registration database of law-abiding handgun owners.

The Bureaucracy 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 recordkeeping.  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.”  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 paragraph 1 above).

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.

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, what happens when they cross a road from which hunting is illegal.  They either have you carry the firearm across the road for them or you have just committed a gross misdemeanor.

The 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.”  

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.

But WAGR is apparently okay with that because they believe you shouldn't be shooting on public land anyway.

Myths vs Facts

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Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a one-minute digital video as part of it's online campaign to defeat Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The video, titled  I-594 Will Not Make Washington Safer, features Seattle resident Anette Wachter, "The 30 Cal Gal" blogger and U.S. Long Range Rifle Team member.

Fairfax, Va. – A majority of Washington State’s 39 sheriffs have come out in opposition to anti-gun Washington State Ballot Initiative 594.  The sheriffs oppose I-594 because it will not make anyone safer, will strain scarce law enforcement resources, will criminalize the lawful behavior of millions of law-abiding gun owners in Washington and will be unenforceable.  Instead, I-594 would vastly expand the state’s handgun registry and force law-abiding gun owners to pay fees and get the government’s permission to sell or even loan a firearm to a friend or family member.

To date, 27 of the 39 sheriffs have publicly opposed I-594.  


Yesterday, the Washington State Republican Party issued a press release formally opposing Washington’s anti-gun Initiative 594. 

Initiative 594 is a measure that will appear on Washington’s November ballot. A universal handgun registration scheme, I-594 would regulate transfers — not just sales — of all firearms in the Evergreen State. That means if a friend wants to try your gun at the range, you would have to broker the transfer through a gun dealer, with all accompanying fees, paperwork, use taxes and, in the case of handguns, state registration. I-594 also doubles the state waiting period on handgun sales from 5 to 10 days and extends it to every private transfer of a handgun. #VoteNo594

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.  

The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs, the state's oldest and largest law enforcement organization opposes Initiative 594. WACOPS represents more than 4500 active duty police and sheriffs deputies. Click here to read WACOPS position paper on Initiative 594.



Right now in the state of Washington, Bloomberg is pushing a November ballot measure that is promoted as being about background checks for private sales. But it is really a law to criminalize most gun owners, including those who never sell guns. If passed, the deceptive Bloomberg ban for Washington state is then going to become the national model, to gradually be imposed on gun owners nationwide.

By injecting large sums of money into advertisement campaigns designed to mislead voters on Initiative 594, misguided anti-gun elitists seek to purchase the constitutional freedoms of Washington residents out from under them. 


As a result of an in-depth debate between the National Rifle Association and the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) has joined the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) in opposing the 18-page gun control measure, Initiative 594, on the Washington ballot this fall.


Tonight, a state anti-gun group called Washington Ceasefire will be holding a “gun reform” panel where the public is invited to engage panelists in a conversation about gun rights in Washington State.  Currently, panelists consist of several anti-gun individuals, including President of the Brady Campaign, Dan Gross.  This event will be held downstairs at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and there is an entry fee of $5, which goes to Town Hall Seattle for production costs.

Last night, the Washington Legislature adjourned their 2014 session and while Initiative 594 stalled in the state Capitol, the fight is just beginning as the deeply flawed I-594 will now go to the November Ballot.

On Tuesday, January 28, Washington citizens will get their first opportunity to testify on Initiative-594, a major gun control bill being falsely promoted as a “Universal Background Check” measure.  The House Judiciary Committee will take I-594 up at 1:30 p.m. in Hearing Room A in the John L. O’Brien House building on the Capitol campus in Olympia.  The Senate Law & Justice Committee will take I-594 up the following day, Wednesday, January 29, at 1:30 p.m. in Hearing Room 1 in the John A. Cherberg Senate Building.

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