I am responding to Curtis E. Stone’s letter to the editor published March 26 in regard to Initiative 594, which concerns background checks for firearms sales and transfers. The initiative is the effort of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a nonprofit organization made up of private citizens as well as over 100 organizations from throughout the state.
The initiative’s goal is very simple and common sense. It states: “This measure would apply the currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.”
In other words, everyone buying a gun in Washington state would pass the same background check, no matter where they buy the gun or whom they buy it from. This will close the “gun show loophole” that currently allows guns to be sold by individuals online, through classified ads, and gun shows with no background check whatsoever for the buyer. There are no new restrictions and nothing in the initiative that requires gun registration or would lead to “gun confiscation” as Mr. Stone fears.
Washington citizens on both sides of the gun-control debate (79 percent) agree that “felons, persons convicted of domestic violence crimes, and persons dangerously mentally ill as determined by a court should not be eligible to possess guns for public safety reasons” (Sec. 1 of I-594). Washington citizens on both sides of the state understand that although universal background checks won’t prevent every criminal from obtaining a weapon, we can and must act to limit illegal access to guns.
Universal background checks are a reasonable, common sense approach that is overwhelmingly supported by a broad range of faith-based, public health and other community organizations and includes gun owners, Republican county prosecutors and NRA members.
Does this sound like the “anti-gun cartel” with an “ultimate goal to totally disarm American people and erase the second amendment from the constitution”?
Background checks are working to reduce gun violence across all categories — homicide, domestic violence, suicide, etc. — in other states that have them universally applied. A typical background check takes just 90 seconds.
I encourage everyone to visit the website of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility at wagunresponsibility.org to learn more. The complete text of I-594 is also available and the names of concerned citizens and faith-based organizations who have declared their support for I-594. Please join us.