THE TRUTH ABOUT INITIATIVE 594
Initaitive 594 seeks to impose universal background checks on all firearms sales, the backers of I-594 claim it will not effect the rights of law abiding gun owners and that they only want background checks? Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? Except I-594 is about more then background checks read on.
MYTH: I-594 Is only about background checks!
I-594 seeks to impose background checks by requiring that all TRANSFERS (not sales, but any TRANSFER) be taken to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) FFLs are private businesses which charge money for the transfer service, are irregularily located across the state, and have no obligation to transfer firearms. Fees can run between 30 and 60 dollars a gun for the service.
MYTH: I-594 will not affect hunters or hunting rights
Currently in Washington teenagers may begin hunting solo at age 14, in fact out of 50 states in the union, every state allows minors to hunt with firearms under the age of 18(according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). I-594 would require that any hunter with a firearm be accompanied by an adult, making Washington the only state to have a burdensome requirement for teenaged hunters.
MYTH: I-594 does not affect your right to obtain a handgun for self-defense
Initiative 594 increases the waiting period for handguns. Currently the waiting period is 5 business days, I-594 will increase it to 10 business days (meaning 14 days, possibly more if state holidays are during the week). In addition the requirement that every transfer by sent to an FFL further impairs one’s right to self defense. If you give a firearm to a friend who’s being stalked by an abusive ex-husband, you would have to take her to an FFL dealer, and have her wait 14+ days to obtain the pistol, even if you already know she’s not a felon! Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against you.
MYTH: I-594 is nessecary because 40% of all guns are sold without a background check.
The 40% figure was published in 1997 and based off of a 1994 survey of 250 people over the telephone. No additional screening was performed on respondents to the study. The Study respondents were also questioned prior to the National Instant Criminal Check System coming online. Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center even called this claim “misleading” and stated “ the number is quite often stated as fact when no one can say for certain.”
MYTH: “National Surveys” say that 80% of crime guns come from private transfers
Only when illegal sales between criminal gang members and illegal straw purchases are factored in. According the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 39% of criminals obtained firearms “through theft/burglary, from a drug dealer, or ‘other’ in additional 40% obtained the firearms “from family members (transfers exempt from I-594’s provisions) or friends” (who presumably already know their friend is not eligible to possess a firearm. hidden in the “from family or friends” category, is “straw sales” where someone with a clean background purchases a firearm on behalf of their relative or friend who is unwilling or unable to have his name on the paperwork at a gun shop. Straw sales are illegal at a federal level and I-594 does not address straw sales.
I-594 offers no new sanctions on criminal gun possession. It is focused entirely on legal customers of firearms, and has numerous other issues imbedded within that are not related to criminal background checks. 594 will increase the difficulty with which citizens may sell or buy their personal guns while not effecting criminals.