Washington’s fall ballot contains two measures on gun safety, 591 and 594.
This is how they’ll appear on the 2014 Washington ballot this fall.
|“Initiative Measure 591 concerns firearms.
This measure would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.”
The first part prohibits confiscating guns without due process, which is already prohibited in the federal and Washington State constitutions. The second part contains a bombshell that blows away Washington’s background checks: requiring a uniform national standard imposes the weaker federal background checks passed by Congress on Washington and nullifies Washington’s current background checks. It also prohibits voter approved improvements on future ballots related to background checks.
Washington voters would not only lose their stronger standards, they would not be able to vote for stronger standards. I’m voting no on 591.
Initiative 591 is a rollback of current Washington law that adds additional checks of state records to the incomplete federal records. Washington law prohibits pistol sales by registered arms dealers to convicted felons such as drug dealers, or under certain court restraining orders such as domestic abuse, found not guilty of crimes by reason of insanity or judged mentally incompetent, or have certain charges pending.
Vote No on 591.
Washington’s background checks disqualify 30-40 people per year where the Department of Social and Health Services records show they’ve been involuntarily committed for mental-health reasons alone according to an article the Seattle Times last Sunday.
Washington’s law on background checks has a loophole. Any of those 30-40 people could drive to Seattle and buy firearms at a gun show and avoid that background check and be back in town by nightfall. Or they buy them online from the newspaper in a private sale. Vote no on 591.
Initiative 594 closes these loopholes. The ballot language reads:
|Initiative 594 concerns background checks for firearm sales and transfers.
This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun shows and online sales, with specific exceptions.”
According to the state voter’s pamphlet “This measure would apply the background check requirements currently used for firearm sales by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers where at least one party is in Washington.” This adds sales at gun shows, online, and between unlicensed private individuals … whether the firearm involved is a pistol or another type of firearm.
I’m voting for 594. But to cover loopholes in Washington’s background checks and cover more firearms than just pistols, vote for 594 and no on the other one, 591.
Be prepared for a barrage of ads because these measures have attracted national interest.
A TV ad supporting 591 was labeled mostly false, by the KCPQ FOX news program Tracking the Truth, featuring C. R. Douglas who’s won 4 Emmy Awards for excellence in journalism. He said, “The biggest claim in advertising for 591 is ‘Stop gun confiscation without due process.’”
Douglas said, “There isn’t arbitrary gun confiscation here in Washington State.”
A TV ad for 594 was labeled Mostly True. In Washington, “Criminals who fail a background check can simply go on-line or to a gun show and buy a gun from a stranger.” Voting for 594 would close that loophole.
As you hear blizzards of ads opposing strengthening Washington’s background checks, remember these facts.
Washington background checks are currently filled out by local arms dealers for pistols at such dealers as Oldedays Firearms in Waterville and Sportsman’s Warehouse in East Wenatchee. Passage of 594 would expand background checks to retail stores such as Costco and Coastal Farm and Ranch in East Wenatchee.
I-594 allows transfers of guns without background checks for weapons like antiques, between family members or people sharing guns at licensed gun ranges or on public lands.
The Voters Pamphlet says, “The Office of Financial Mnagement says Initiative 594 is expected to have minimal impact on state and local revenues.” State expenditures would be minimal.
Sheena Cooper at the Douglas County Sherriff’s office processes state background checks. She said, “Even if it doubles my load, it wouldn’t be horrendous.” But, she added, my supervisor is the one who would has to make the decisions.
To increase gun safety, vote FOR I-594, and No on I-591.