I-594 is a massive 18-page gun control initiative that has been proposed in Washington state with the promise that the “universal background checks” that it proselytizes for will somehow contribute to reducing gun crime.
It is an incredibly popular initiative among the ultra-wealthy, with billionaires Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Nick Hanauer dumping millions into the campaign. Bloomberg, the owner of Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, just dumped in another $650,000 last week. So far, $8.3 million has been lavished on the measure in an attempt to make it look like a popular measure.
But in reality, I-594 isn’t popular among those who are the most in the know, the law enforcement agencies who would be tasked with attempting to enforce this poorly constructed proposal.
One law enforcement officer Scott Brennan, went so far as to write an op-ed explaining why I-594 is such a horrible idea.
I am Scott Brennan. I have been with your Sheriff’s Department for over 26 years. As the person who will have to enforce I-594 I have read it very carefully.
Here is what it will mean to you. If passed I-594 covers ALL gun SALES and TRANSFERS (more on this later).
This means if you want to sell your long time neighbor John that shotgun he has always admired, you, John and the shotgun have catch the ferry to the mainland and drive to a licensed gun dealer in Anacortes or Mt. Vernon.
You have to register the gun. John has to fill out background check papers. You have to pay a ‘reasonable fee’ (whatever the gun dealer wants) You then both go home and wait.
Then 10 days later, you, John and the shotgun again catch the ferry back to the mainland and go back to the dealer, where John finally pays you and you get to hand him the shotgun. That’s SALES.
Now, we get into TRANSFERS. Sooo, the deputies want to surprise a retiring officer with a gun as a gift. The gun owner, the gun and the retiring officer again have to catch the ferry and go the mainland gun dealer. We have to register the gun and the ‘surprised officer’ has to do the background check paperwork. We again pay the ‘reasonable fee’.
Then we all get to go home again and wait ten days. Then we again catch the ferry to the mainland, go back to the gun store and finally ‘surprise’ our coworker with his gift (TRANSFER).
Here is one better. I want to loan my friend Gary my break down shotgun for his motorcycle trip to Alaska. We, once again, have to go to the mainland, drive to Anacortes or Mt. Vernon, register the gun, Gary does the background check and we pay the ‘reasonable fee’.
Ten days later we’re back and I get to ‘loan’ him the gun in front of the dealer. Gary has a great trip and comes back three weeks later. After he comes back, we all have to go back to the mainland, go back to the dealer and now I have to fill out the paperwork and pay the fee to be approved to get my own gun back.
As a law enforcement officer, I know this is completely un-enforceable. Unless a cop is hiding in your living room when you make the sale, gift or loan, no one will ever know it happened and it won’t help solve the problem
I-594 would make the common practice of trying out another friends rifle, pistol, or shotgun, illegal.
It would make it illegal for a grandfather to give his daughter a firearm to defend herself and her grandchildren from an abusive ex-husband.
Chris Cheng a former Google employee, Top Shot competitor, and NRA commentator has this to say about I-594.
Countering I-594 is important to the rights of Washington’s citizens, as it was written with the explicit goal of infringing upon the basic human right to armed self-defense.