Letter - Initiative 594 should be stopped

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This letter is about the proposed Initiative 594 gun control (universal background check) proposal.

However, I’d first like to compliment Wa-Hi student Madyson Gabriel for her outstanding guest column, “Defending Constitution helps keep country strong,” U-B April 27.

What a wonderful breath of fresh air in this era of too many unconstitutional actions being taken by some states and the federal government ... including even a president who makes end-runs around the Constitution and Congress whenever it suits him. Miss Gabriel did herself, her family, her school and her country proud.

Recent letters supporting I-594 were written with good intentions. However, we know where roads paved with those can lead.

According to Public Disclosure Commission reports, I-594 raised $1,435,263.73 so far with the vast majority of the money coming from Seattle-area contributors. Contributions to Initiative 591 have come from all over the state.

There’s a good reason former New York Mayor (and anti-gun billionaire) Michael Bloomberg supported I-594 with $30,000 (and I suspect more will come). It’s just one more foot in the door that he hopes will lead toward registration and eventual confiscation of personal firearms.

I’d like to point out a brief description of the hidden dangers of I-594 on the Washington Arms Collectors website by Executive Director Phil Shave titled “I-594 Is Bad Law.” You will be reminded of Nancy Pelosi’s advice to “pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”

Mr. Shave writes, “I-594 will be described as reasonable regulation — it is not ... It is the criminalization of ordinary conduct of law-abiding citizens. This initiative targets only law-abiding gun owners, shooters and collectors. It entangles you in the net of regulation while leaving untouched the gangsters and criminals who should not possess firearms.”

Shave quotes from I-594, “No person shall sell or transfer a firearm unless: (a) The person is a licensed dealer; (b) The purchaser or transferee is a licensed dealer.” He further writes, “In this nightmare proposed Soviet-style law of eighteen pages, I-594 requires the intervention of the State of Washington, the Federal government and Federally-licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) in transactions between private persons.”

I-594 boils down to two main points: (1) lawful citizens are saddled with unneeded, costly, bureaucratic record-keeping (where a simple mistake can lead to jail); and (2) it will not stop criminals from acquiring illegal guns.

Let’s stop I-594.

Steve Singleton

Walla Walla

Comments

fatherof5 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Out of curiosity, I just read this initiative. Assuming I am reading the initiative correctly, the above quote from Mr. Shave is incomplete when he writes: “No person shall sell or transfer a firearm unless: (a) The person is a licensed dealer; (b) The purchaser or transferee is a licensed dealer.”

The quote left out "or (c)." It also left out the various exemptions. This is how it really reads in Section (3), subsection (2):

(2) No person shall sell or transfer a firearm unless: (a) The person is a licensed dealer; (b) The purchaser or transferee is a licensed dealer; or (c) The requirements of subsection (3) of this section are met.

Then Section (3), subsection (3) describes how unlicensed dealers can make sales or transfers.

Then Section (3), subsection (4) begins: "This section does not apply to:" and it proceeds to list seven exemptions to this initiative, two of which include the sale of antique guns and the giving of guns as gifts within families, which includes first cousins, uncles, grandparents, siblings, etc..

Here's a link to the whole initiative if anyone wants to read it: http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/FinalText_483.pdf

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

In response to a pro-594 letter, I posited a number of scenarios that would make their participants criminals under this law. All of them are the kinds of criminalization that ordinary gun owners like me could easily fall victim to. You've read the law (as I have). Tell me if I'm wrong. If not, tell me how it helps prevent gun violence to send me to jail and ruin my life for doing these things:

A friend is severely depressed and I demand that he give me his gun, for fear that he will kill himself. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?

I give my grandfather's gun to my nephew in exchange for him cleaning out my garage. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?

I give my father's rifle to his old army buddy, whose always been like an uncle to me. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?

My gun safe jams, I'm going out of town for a week, and I ask my neighbor of 30 years to put my guns in his safe for me. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?

I get fed up with my .380 because it keeps jamming, and sell it to another long-time member of my gun club who thinks he can fix it. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?

Explain to me how it is reasonable that I should have to pay a hefty fee (how much?) and wait for some bureaucracy to give me the OK before I engage in any of the above "transfers". Explain to me how subjecting me to those burdens does NOT burden my right to keep and bear arms unreasonably OR how it stops gang members from transferring guns amongst themselves.

And lets say I'm just selling a gun on Craigslist (although I don't think they allow it) to a total stranger. How do you know that even if he passes the background check, he's not buying the gun for his felon brother?

Most guns used in crimes whose provenance is known are bought from dealers who DO background checks, but they are bought by straw purchasers. Nancy Lanza knew her son was nuts, but she passed background checks, bought guns and allowed him to use them anyway. The Columbine killers acquired their guns through straw purchasers.

I have repeatedly asked in response to letters supporting background checks for private transactions for someone to point to any crimes actually committed by someone who legally acquired his or her firearm in the way this law would make illegal. No one has yet to respond with a single incident that meets those conditions. Given the total lack of evidence that there is a problem with the way we've been handling private transactions, this law is simply about making gun-haters feel better by making gun ownership more onerous and dangerous.

Burdening the safe and sane makes no sense unless you can show exactly how doing so will stop the nuts and psychopaths from acquiring guns.

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fatherof5 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I think you bring up a strong rebuttal to this initiative, PearlY. The way I read it, every one of the seemingly benign scenarios you describe would need to go through a licensed gun dealer and would likely incur a fee. But how common are those scenarios in the typical person's life? The right to keep and bear arms doesn't guarantee that, depending on your mode of purchase, that there won't be some reasonable fees involved with the acquisition of the gun. It just says that you can keep it and bear it, unless you've done something to forfeit that right.

In my mind, the benefit of tightening up gun transactions would be that over time it would become increasingly difficult for the wrong people to acquire guns. It might take 20 years before the impact is felt, and we will never eliminate the problem entirely, but eventually these types of reasonable gun measures would have a desirable effect for all of us. As a gun owner myself, I do not feel burdened by this regulation. I get your point, though, and you articulate it well.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

How common? Well, of the five scenarios, two are from my life (the suicidal friend and the jamming .380), one is from one of my in-laws (the garage-cleaning nephew), one is from my father (the gift to the army buddy), and the other was invented (the jamming gun-safe) but only because I figured out the problem. These are all common-place occurrences in a gun owner's life.

A "reasonable" fee is how much, exactly? Is $60 reasonable on the transfer of a hand-gun that might sell for at best $200-300? And is ANY fee reasonable if it is imposed for no good reason?

"These types of reasonable gun measures" will have an impact ONLY on gun owners like me and you. Over time, as the inconvenience of owning guns is increased, and the risk of accidentally facing criminal charges over innocuous events is brought home by aggressively anti-gun prosecutors, you and I and others like us will find it harder to justify to ourselves putting ourselves to that risk and inconvenience. So, over time, fewer people will own guns but the reduction in gun owner ranks will come from people like us, not from the criminals for whom guns are professional tools.

Seriously, fatherof5, how COULD this law make it harder for criminals to get guns, when this is not how they acquire guns in the first place? According to the Department of Justice, 81% of guns used in crimes were acquired through straw purchasers, were stolen or were shoplifted, and they concluded that the buyers of the 19% that were acquired through private sellers, gun shows or flea markets would most likely simply switch to straw purchasing if those resources were cut off. It defies understanding how you think this law could do what you say you want - to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It seems to me like some kind of magical thinking.

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fatherof5 5 months, 2 weeks ago

We may differ on the definition of common. If you have personally encountered two of these situations in your whole life, that isn't very common.

As for your statistics, the idea would be to continually make it harder for criminals over time. This would be a good step by 19% in that directions.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The Justice Department didn't think so. As I said, they believed, and it makes obvious sense, that anybody driven from the 19% group would simply join the 81% group to acquire their weapons. The magical thinking is the "idea" that this law will somehow make it harder on criminals. It won't. Try to think about this rationally: It can't. All it can do is catch a bunch of ordinary citizens up in show prosecutions to intimidate the average American into surrendering our rights.

As for "common", well, I've only owned guns for about six years, and I've remained arrest/conviction free on any crimes for 62, so the thought that I could face jail once every three years or so if I live my life as I have a right to do does not much appeal to me. And after all, I only cited a few of the dozens of scenarios that could cause people to run afoul of the law. Even NewInWW might have innocently taken a gun away from a suicidal friend, believing as he did that this obviously desirable and common-sense act must be legal, and found himself facing prosecution if he did that in Seattle, Everett or Tacoma. As a demonstrable liberal, he would probably be given a break, but not necessarily.

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NewInWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

"A friend is severely depressed and I demand that he give me his gun, for fear that he will kill himself. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?" - Section 4(c) permits this

"I give my grandfather's gun to my nephew in exchange for him cleaning out my garage. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?" - Section 4(a) permits this

"I give my father's rifle to his old army buddy, whose always been like an uncle to me. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how?" - Yup, jail for both of you. I'm not sure why there's a need to avoid the law in this case.

My gun safe jams, I'm going out of town for a week, and I ask my neighbor of 30 years to put my guns in his safe for me. Jail for both of us prevents gun violence how? - Yup, jail for both of you. However, if you wanted to avoid jail, you could probably take your arsenal down to the police or sheriffs station, or to a licensed dealer for storage.

"I get fed up with my .380 because it keeps jamming, and sell it to another long-time member of my gun club who thinks he can fix it. " - Yup, jail for both of you. I'm not sure why there's a need to avoid the law in this case.

As for the rest of your post, I'd wager that most guns used in domestic violence cases (whether or not actually fired) were lawfully purchased and anyone convicted of domestic violence would find it more difficult to lawfully acquire another firearm under this law.

That seems like a decent result to me.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Just goes to show - it's not what you know that will get you, it's what you know that isn't so.

Section 4(a) does NOT permit the transfer to my nephew for cleaning out the garage. That is a barter, not a "bona-fide gift" as required by the statute.

Section 4(c) does NOT permit the transfer to me from my depressed friend. It only permits transfers to prevent imminent risk of death or severe bodily injury to the person TO WHOM the gun is transferred, not the person FROM whom the gun is transferred.

And other than showing you'd leap at pretty much any excuse to inconvenience, and if possible, lock up people you despise, like peaceable gun owners like me, nowhere in your post is the slightest explanation for WHY we should be so inconvenienced, much less locked up. What good would it accomplish other than put a grin on your face?

I'm not sure what you're wagering. Do you mean that you think most guns used in domestic violence cases were purchased after a background check? Or do you mean that you think they were purchased legally under current law from private sellers, and thus escaped a background check?

The real issue is: How many were purchased by someone already convicted of domestic violence, from a private seller? Those are the only transactions that would be affected by the new law. Anyone who bought a gun and THEN commits domestic violence with it won't be prevented from buying by this new law.

Look, anyone convicted of domestic violence is already subject to felony charges if they subsequently acquire a gun. Someone determined to get a gun and willing to risk that will not be deterred by background checks; they will simply purchase through a straw purchaser, probably from a dealer, just like such people do now.

The ONLY result from this law is to harass gun owners. After asking repeatedly, no one, including you, has come forward with any incidents, much less many incidents, demonstrating a problem with the current law of private sales. If this is such a huge problem, and this law will actually help solve it, why can nobody produce any data to show that?

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NewInWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

This is about the third or fourth time you've suggested that I "hated" or "despised" some group. As I've said before, I don't hate or despise any group. My experience, however, is that people tend to accuse others of faults they find in themselves.

As for the issue, you're right, I misread 4(c) (although it's a pretty useful exception, allowing someone in danger to arm themselves). Your argument on 4(a) - giving the gun to your relative - is just silly, and you know it.

Finally, this once again demonstrates that there's no point in debating religious topics - in this case your religious fervor about gun ownership. Somehow I don't think any of us will feel safer when the NRA gets its way and everyone is locked and loaded everywhere.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh, surely, you hate or despise SOME group! Not even Al Qaeda, NAMBLA, the KKK, or, perhaps more likely, the NRA or the Tea Party?

But let's just say I'm not feeling the love from the fact that you would be perfectly content to see me, my nephew (and yes, it would be silly for a prosecutor to prosecute on that one, but under the law, s/he could if s/he wanted to, and some will want to), my neighbor, my suicidal friend, my dad's old army buddy, and my friend from the gun club in jail for engaging in any of the innocuous, and mostly desirable, transactions I listed. Someone who wants to put me in jail for such trivialities may not think he despises me, but from my perspective, it sure looks like it.

Funny how I was just thinking that your clinging to your views on this issue contrary to all evidence was religious in its intensity! One of us is projecting.

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NewInWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

That would be you projecting.

There are ways to handle all of the situations you've dreamed up without running afoul of this proposed law. You are, as usual, throwing up sophistry to argue against reason.

As for hating - no, I don't hate anyone. That seems to be an emotion that comes easily to you. For my part, I try to understand where conduct that I condemn comes from and that, in and of itself, tends to militate against hatred.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, you are indeed very special! Congratulations!

I'm sure everyone who ends up in jail or broke from defense fees for failing to be as smart as you in avoiding the entrapments of this law will be relieved to know it's not because you hate them, but just because you want them locked up.

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NewInWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

You with the purple prose.

One needn't be "smart" to avoid violating this law - all you need to do is assume you can't privately transfer a weapon unless you can find an exception in the law.

There, that wasn't so hard was it?

As for being special, you must move in different circles than I do. Very few people I know "hate" or "despise" any groups, much less as many as you appear to.

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PearlY 5 months, 2 weeks ago

And you have still avoided the basic question behind all this: Why?

Why should a law be passed that forces me to assume I can't do any of those things when all the evidence, including Dept. of Justice studies, are that it will accomplish virtually nothing if the goal is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals?

Personally, from what I've read in your letters, I think you're in deep denial about what you do and don't hate, and we must indeed travel in different circles if nobody you know despises Al Qaeda or the KKK. Or, as we have so many times before, we may be defining the word differently..

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barracuda 5 months, 2 weeks ago

One part of Section 1 of this new law reads this:

"This measure would extend criminal and public safety background checks to all gun sales or transfers. Background checks would not be required for gifts between immediate family members or for antiques.

Hmmmm, not sure that is a good idea......

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namvet60 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Was there ever a thought of enforcing the laws already on the books? The laws already on the books already cover every situation except how to keep the criminals from robbing and stealing guns at will. The only prevention is that the home owner is armed when the criminals arrive.

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stvsngltn 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Excellent point, Namvet60. In fact only a very minute fraction of those who NICS system prevents from purchasing a firearm are ever checked out and/or if a felon, are arrested. I'm certain those will succeed in obtaining a firearm in other ways, perhaps a stolen blackmarket pistol for example. Same would go for the universal background check concept. We have enough laws on the books, more will not prevent criminal use of firearms.

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stvsngltn 5 months, 2 weeks ago

My letter contained a link to the original article from which I quoted a few lines. It had much more detail and pertinent information. Perhaps it was omitted because it was an "https". Any Google or internet search can pull it up if one searches for "I-594 is bad law".

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VampireNinja 5 months, 2 weeks ago

"...lead toward registration and eventual confiscation of personal firearms."

A firearms registry would be necessary to enforce this initiative, that would be illegal. Nor would it acceptable, because logic and history shows that confiscation either is or will be the goal. Even if not used as official doctrine, we all know how well our agencies can be trusted not to abuse such knowledge when they can get their hands on it at will. If even the Canadian Govt/RCMP can be guilty of this crime just last year ( http://tinyurl.com/l7lzyeg ), not to mention the violations suspected but now proven by our own executive agencies to do worse on a regular basis (Parallel Construction comes to mind as well as Operation Earnest Voice*). So....academically, it is my opinion that this initiative really sucks.

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barracuda 5 months, 1 week ago

I saw a sign on the road the other day.....

"Gun control is like attempting to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars."

Pretty sums it up.....

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barracuda 5 months ago

Here is a story you wont hear about on the News

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