Vote NO 954
Vote NO 594


The entire campaign in support of I-594 is based on dishonesty and obfuscation. Consider the following claims (MYTHS), taken from the proponents’ website and Facebook page but also consider the FACTS we present to refute these myths:


I-594 is a “simple measure to ensure that a background check is conducted for every gun purchase.”


No 18-page law is simple! Further, 594 is classic bait and switch…supporters constantly and dishonestly refer to “sales” when the language of the proposal regulates “transfers”, very broadly defined! Virtually every time a firearm changes hands, the transfer would be required to be processed through a licensed dealer. Worst of all, I-594 is being disguised as a simple background check measure, when in fact it would result in handgun registration!


I-594 proponents specifically claim that the initiative “does not create a registry.”


Virtually every temporary transfer of a handgun under the provisions of I-594 is subject to dealer regulation and completion of the Pistol Transfer Application, a copy of which RCW 9.41.110(9) requires be sent to the Department of Licensing for inclusion in the state database of law-abiding handgun owners.


I-594 includes “reasonable exceptions.”


The exceptions included in I-594 are drafted so narrowly that they are essentially meaningless.  Examples:

  • There is NO general loan exemption for family members or friends, even in the presence of the owner!
  • You couldn’t loan your sister-in-law a firearm for self protection!
  • You couldn’t loan your adult sons shotguns to go hunting!
  • A person could “gift” a firearm to a family member but could NOT loan or sell it to her!
  • A police officer who loans a personal firearm to a fellow officer would face prosecution under I-594!

Concealed Pistol License holders, who are subjected to fingerprint-based checks, are not exempt!


“Criminals go to gun shows to buy guns with no background check.”


In each of several studies by the U.S. Department of Justice over the last 23 years, between 0.6 and 0.8 percent of state prison inmates incarcerated for gun crimes obtained guns at gun shows. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Guns Used in Crime, July 1995; Firearms Use by Offenders, November 2001; and Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, May 2013.)




I-594 proponents cite a Justice Department study claiming that 80% of prison inmates obtained guns through private transfers.


The Justice Department study in question found that 77 percent of state prison inmates incarcerated for gun crimes had acquired their guns through “street/illegal sources,” including “theft or burglary,” “drug dealer/off street,” and “fence/black market,” or from “friends or family.” (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, May 2013.)

 Criminals will ignore I-594 and continue to use these illegal sources.


“Private parties complying with the background check requirement are exempt from sales tax.”


Current law already exempts “casual and isolated sales of property” (such as private firearm sales) from sales tax…but subjects them to use tax. The sales tax exemption in I-594 is a disingenuous attempt to hide the facts that private transfers will be subject to use tax and that the records created by these dealer transfers will give the government the necessary tool to single out and collect more tax from law-abiding firearm owners.


“Law enforcement agencies and public safety officials agree that this (private firearm sale) loophole promotes illegal gun trafficking and enables individuals with criminal intent to purchase firearms.”


Numerous law enforcement officials, including the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), have come out publicly opposed to I-594 and more are lending their voices every week. They understand that I-594 will divert their attention and resources away from keeping violent criminals off our streets and shift them to doing checks on law-abiding citizens, keeping us all less safe. Further, a police officer who loans a personal firearm to a fellow officer would face criminal prosecution under the provisions of I-594!

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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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