Diary

Dueling Washington gun initiatives

Washington voters will be presented with two firearms initiatives in November’s general election.  Initiative 591 reaffirms existing federal background checks. Initiative 594 is being sold as “universal background checks” for purchasing firearms. It is that, but it’s much more. Eighteen pages of red tape criminalizes such ordinary activities as loaning your hunting rifle to a friend or relative – unless you visit a gun dealer, pay $50, and fill out the same paperwork now used to purchase the gun in the first place.

Even without I-594, gun dealers must have Federal Firearms Licenses and are already required to run background checks on all prospective gun purchasers, whether in their stores or at gun shows.

A year ago Colorado voters were told the same thing that Washington voters are being told now, that upwards of 40 percent of gun purchases were outside the federal background check system. But a year of actual experience in Colorado has increased online background checks less than 6.5 percent instead of 40. Conclusion: fewer private sales than proponents claimed.

You should care about this I-594 pattern, even if you don’t live in Washington state. Financed by elite billionaires (Bloomberg, Balmer, Gates, etc.) who are protected by armed private security, they nonetheless want to deny self defense to ordinary citizens. Accordingly, I-594 is just a road test for superficially-reasonable proposals coming to your state next.

I-594 is just another attack on firearms commerce and ownership.  What I-594’s proponents really want is to hogtie gun owners in red tape, with felony penalties for mistakes.