I've been reading about the progress of Initiative 594 in Washington state. It's on the ballot for November 4th this year. Its official title is 'Washington Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases, Initiative 594 (2014)', and it's described as follows:
Current law requires criminal and public safety background checks before purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. This measure would extend this requirement to most firearm purchases and transfers in Washington, with exceptions, including transfers within families, temporary transfers for self-defense and hunting, and antiques. Licensed dealers would conduct the background checks and could charge a fee. Violation of these requirements would be a crime.
The measure will also criminalize, with few exceptions, all temporary transfers of possession of firearms that do not involve purchases, such as for safekeeping, hunting, loan, recreational sharing, safety training, coaching, transport, etc.
There's more at the link. The measure is supported by all the usual liberal, progressive and anti-gun organizations.
The Washington Arms Collectors association is mounting a major effort to educate gun owners about the dangers posed by Initiative 594. It's published a list of 26 'Myths of Initiative 594' that makes chilling reading. Here are a few excerpts.
Newspaper editorial boards and media coverage of I-594 continue to distort the purpose and effect of this anti-civil rights measure. The media regularly portrays I-594 as a background check on firearm sales which it is not; it is much more.
There is an effective media blackout on press releases and position statements opposed to I-594. The public, even the shooting public, does not yet realize what this initiative will do if passed.
. . .
Myth #4 – A person can loan a firearm, without going through a dealer, to another as long as it is returned to him.
Reality: Transfers are defined by I-594 to include any loan of a firearm. Any temporary loan of a firearm, no matter how short the time, without FFL dealer paperwork would be a crime.
. . .
Myth #10 – I keep a rifle in my truck and occasionally allow my daughter to drive this vehicle on our property – this can’t be a crime?
Reality: Unless you are in the truck with your minor child, this is a transfer requiring an FFL dealer at two points. There is a transfer when she departs with the truck and when she returns it to you – possession equals transfer under I-594.
. . .
594 is not designed to keep guns from criminals or reduce crime; it is intended to create overwhelming obstacles to the private possession and use of firearms. I-594 targets recreational shooters, competitors, hobbyists and collectors.
The passage of 591 is the only answer to the evils of I-594.
Again, there's more at the link.
The '591' to which the Arms Collectors article refers is a competing ballot initiative, the 'Washington Gun Rights Measure, Initiative 591 (2014)'. It's described as follows.
This measure would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.
More at the link.
It's intriguing that both 591 and 594 are to be presented to the voters of Washington state on the same day. It's entirely possible that both measures may pass - in which case it'll be up to the state's courts to sort out the contradictions between them. Frankly, given the liberal track records of many judges in Washington, I wouldn't be too confident that the outcome will uphold the Second Amendment and Supreme Court precedent. Furthermore, if Washington state implements such measures, it'll encourage anti-gun activists around the country to try to implement similar restrictions in their states as well.
I think it's very important to gun owners in the USA as a whole that Initiative 591 be passed and Initiative 594 be defeated. I'd be very grateful if my readers in Washington state, and those of you with friends there, would please spread the word about these measures and the harm that Initiative 594 would do to the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun-owners. Let's try to mobilize right-minded voters before November 4th.