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Open I-594 to the light of day | Letter
While I certainly can understand the previous Sammamish writer’s passionate pleas for the passage of Initiative 594 from her perspective, she is sadly misinformed or indifferent to what the 18-page initiative actually says.
It is packaged in the “Well, why wouldn’t anyone want to make things safer by having background checks?” camouflage to deceive the voters in to believing it. Crime statistics (those not doctored by the anti-gun crowd) show that crime is not reduced by increasing those checks and the vast majority of gun sales for both rifles and pistols are already done with a check already and criminals are not dissuaded by them. We don’t need new laws and more abridging of personal freedoms in this manner.
The answer is to address mental illness effectively and to simply enforce the existing laws on the books while requiring existing databases to talk to each other. More than 1.4 million dollars was put into this initiative by Michael Bloomberg. He is a hard-core anti-gun rabble rouser who has made it his personal crusade to end gun ownership.
Most city mayors across the country who signed on to his Mayors Against Gun Violence organization have fled the organization once they found out his real agenda and its radical bent.
I-594 is literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is poorly or deceptively written and what is there is dubious in its language to as to open the door for future gun control efforts by simply interpreting the language in accordance with an anti-gun perspective.
An example in the 18-page initiate is the “Machine Gun” provision. First of all the initiative framers don’t understand the simple difference between a “Clip” and a “Magazine.” Secondly, it has the statement in that provision that if five rounds or more can be fired in one second, then it meets the definition of a “Machine Gun. You can take a popular small caliber semi-automatic rifle like the Ruger .22 caliber Model 10/22 and you can fire at least five rounds from it in one second by rapidly pulling and releasing the trigger. So it would be a Machine Gun. Really? That’s inane beyond belief?
The initiative is chock full of misnomers and potential violations. I-594 criminalizes ordinary behaviors of gun owners; if you allowed a friend on your private land to hold and fire your weapon you would be committing a crime because it wasn’t on a licensed gun range and you didn’t transfer the weapon to him. The same would apply if you loaned your gun to someone so they could go hunting on their own.
The required waiting time for these checks would be dramatically increased just to penalize buyers. This initiative is so bad that the largest law enforcement organization in the state, the Washington Association of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), opposes the initiative and has published their objections to include: that they do not believe that I-594 will keep guns out of the hands of the criminal or the mentally ill. WACOPS believes such persons will continue to ignore the law and engage in black market transactions. That responsibility for enforcing this law – conducting background checks, investigating and arresting citizens who do not comply – will fall on law enforcement, diverting already scarce resources. Also that the restrictive compliance measures for transfers and loans of guns will cause law abiding citizens to unintentionally commit crimes and possibly be convicted of gross misdemeanors or felonies.
Furthermore they note that a debate exists whether I-594 would create a state registry of guns and that WACOPS holds that if it does not, the background check is useless for enforcement – and that if it does, it is an infringement on the privacy rights of gun owners.
The Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association (WSLEFIA) opposes the initiative, stating that I-594 "is a law that will be impossible to police, intended to criminalize only good citizens, a costly misdirection of scarce Law Enforcement resources and funds, and a statute so broadly written that many of your own activities will become crimes."
This is a terrible initiative hiding behind a Pollyanna feel good façade. Please be an informed voter and ignore the hype stated for supporting I-594. Take the time to read the 18 pages, objectively listen to the arguments of the groups lining up against this and realize I-594 for what it is, a terrible piece of proposed legislation and just another end around move against individual freedoms.
Bill Webb, Kirkland