Washington’s I-594: Another gun control scheme with a full year of failures

Alan G. 2014
Alan Gottlieb

One year ago today, Washington state’s much-ballyhooed gun control measure, Initiative 594, took effect after being passed as the result of an overwhelming $10.3 million campaign financed largely by wealthy Seattle-area billionaires and elitists, with support from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

But the result has hardly lived up to the promise that the so-called “universal background checks” on all gun transfers – including temporary loans – would keep guns out of the wrong hands. To the contrary, there have been numerous cases of felons and teens getting their hands on firearms, many of them stolen or otherwise illicitly obtained, according to the measure’s chief opponent, a leading national Second Amendment advocate.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a leading opponent of the measure, issued a news release that rips the measure and its failure to deliver.

“The law didn’t prevent a 15-year-old in Snohomish County from buying what may have been a stolen gun that he mishandled last weekend to accidentally shoot his younger brother,” Gottlieb said. “It didn’t prevent the July murder of Donnie Chin in Seattle’s International District. It didn’t keep a gun out of the hands of a known teenage gang member who is now facing charges relating to an August shooting in which the victim was walking with his son in Seattle.

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“Despite public records requests to agencies around the state,” he continued, “we can find no record of any enforcement of this new law in the year since it took effect. The only discernible impact of the law has been to inconvenience honest gun owners and add more red tape to gun shows.”

There are many instances where the initiative did not keep guns out of the wrong hands. In February, KIRO reported a Tacoma burglary that involved nine guns taken from a locked safe. In April, Seattle police arrested a 16-year-old who pulled a gun on his family.

On Sept. 9, the Seattle Police Blotter reported the arrest of a convicted felon for drug dealing in the Central District. They recovered a stolen handgun as a result. In October, the Seattle Times and KCPQ reported about a 13-year-old Spanaway youth who was arrested for allegedly aiming a rifle at a bus stop. The rifle had been stolen from a gun safe belonging to the boy’s grandfather.

The 18-page initiative was opposed by CCRKBA, the National Rifle Association and other groups, including Protect Our Gun Rights. A majority of the state’s county sheriffs also opposed the measure.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility spent a small fortune to pass the measure, overwhelming what opponents spent in direct opposition, and to push an alternative measure, Initiative 591, which failed to pass.

In his news release, Gottlieb posed some embarrassing questions about I-594 that nobody has bothered to answer.

“When you do some math, the numbers don’t add up and never did,” he said. “The initiative campaign cost more than $10 million, when it theoretically should not have cost a dime. The proponents claimed that background checks are supported by 80 to 90 percent of the public, yet the measure passed by less than 60 percent of the popular vote, in which only about half of the state’s voters actually returned ballots.

“If you have overwhelming public support for any issue,” he observed, “you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to convince people to actually vote for it. Now the law seems to be gathering dust, without preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.”

The measure, in his opinion, was window dressing; a trophy for failure.

For more, read the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner.


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