Gun Control

Gun Controllers See Ballot Initiatives as Their Savior After Success of Washington's Initiative 594 on Background Checks for Gun Purchases

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Washington state saw victory this week for Initiative 594, which impose tougher background check requirements on gun purchases, of the sort that have gotten nowhere recently on the national level. 

From the ballot language, the Initiative will:

apply the background check requirements currently used for firearm sales by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers where at least one party is in Washington. Background checks would thus be required not only for sales and transfers of firearms through firearms dealers, but also at gun shows, online, and between unlicensed private individuals. Background checks would be required for any sale or transfer of a firearm, whether for money or as a gift or loan, with specific exceptions described below. Background checks would be required whether the firearm involved is a pistol or another type of firearm. Violations of these requirements would be crimes.

People who Washington law tries to bar from firearms ownership include, also from the Initiative language:

Washington law makes it illegal for convicted felons to possess firearms. It also makes it illegal for certain others to possess firearms, including people who: (1) have been convicted of certain misdemeanors; (2) have been issued certain types of restraining orders; (3) have been found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity; (4) have been found mentally incompetent; or (5) have certain criminal charges pending. It is a felony to deliver any firearm to any person reasonably believed to be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

It passed with 60 pecent support. This led sources from Time to Mother Jones to The Atlantic to declare that taking it straight to the voters is the new way for gun control to succeed in an America allegedly paralyzed by over-powerful pro-gun lobbying to politicians.

Progressives who get angry at the notion of big money manipulating the electorate will probably not be alarmed to note that, with the NRA choosing to toss in only around a half a million, that Washington's initiative had pro voices outspending anti enormously—Ballotpedia has pro forces spending over $10 million, and anti only around $600,000. Enemy of all freedoms Michael Bloomberg gave $50 million overall to one of the groups pushing this initiative, "Everytown for Gun Safety." (Big donors for 594 also included Bill and Melinda Gates to the tune of a million, and Paul Allen to the tune of a half million.)

They have their eye on doing the same in Nevada in 2016, if they fail to get the legislature to pass such laws in the meantime. Colorado and Oregon saw such laws pass by initiative in the early '00s, but that strategy had gone into abeyance, largely due to lack of anti-gun funding, which Bloomberg and his operation has helped correct.

David Frum pointed out some of the historical ironies in the gun control context of this happening in Washington:

The passage of 594 takes on extra meaning because Washington state was the place where the gun lobby scored the electoral victory that supposedly proved its invincibility, the defeat of House Speaker Thomas Foley in his own district in 1994. Foley, a longtime supporter of gun rights, had helped pass two gun restrictions in 1993 and 1994: the Brady Bill restricting some handgun sales and the temporary assault-weapons ban, the latter inspired by a gun massacre at Spokane's Air Force base that killed four and wounded 23. Then-NRA President Charlton Heston came to Foley's district to campaign against him. Foley's defeat seemed to prove forever the invincibility of the pro-gun cause. 

Initiatives may well prove to be a successful tack for gun controllers again in the future, more's the pity. While money does not equal victory in these sorts of contests, it behooves civil rights groups dedicated to the Second Amendment to take these efforts more seriously in the future.

Such a strategy won't work everywhere, naturally, as see this week Alabama voters approving by 70 percent Amendment 3, which, as the Alabama Media Group's Al.com reports:

The amendment was introduced to the state legislature by Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia), and it specifies that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right for citizens of the state of Alabama. 

It will require 'strict scrutiny,' the highest level of judicial review, for any restriction of that right. 

Background checks may seem mild, but they are the sort of regulation that can easily end up destroying people's lives for doing something inherently innocent but for the law: peacefully transfering ownership of their lawful property to someone who, in the overwhelming number of cases, will not use that property to harm anyone else.

At best, such background checks are a purely ceremonial way to block the (in almost all cases) innocent from being able to own vital means of self-defense, and shouldn't be taken lightly by supporters or opponents. Things that leave people open to arrest are very serious, and merely ignoring government paperwork requirements in sales of property that, again, in the overwhelming number of cases are never used to harm the innocent, shouldn't be the cause of throwing someone in prison or imposing onerous fines on them. (A first offense under 594 will be a gross misdemeanor; each subsequent offense a class C felony.)

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  1. I’m going to love to see the excuses progressives come up with when these laws end up sending tons of urban black people to prison.

    It’s evil to throw non-violent people in prison for owning weed but it’s totally cool to throw non-violent people in prison if they get a gun while criminal charges are pending.

    Gee, how is it legal to take away someone’s constitutional rights due to pending charges which have yet to be proven?

    1. It is a felony to deliver any firearm to any person reasonably believed to be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

      Emphasis added. “Your Honor, any reasonable person would believe that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm. I mean, just *look* at her!”

      1. Is that really what it says? Reasonably believed by who?

        1. Presumably by the person who gives them the weapon.

          Incidentally, Brian, your total obliteration of mtrueman on that mass shooting article a week ago was brilliant.

          I don’t see you post very often, but every time you do it seems to consist largely of sticking your foot in some progressives ass. I approve of your style.

          This is part of what I’m a libertarian. You’re a great example of someone who has some marginal intelligence, enough to consider themselves up to the task of analyzing data and forming a conclusion. But, clearly, at best, you can’t communicate your conclusions effectively, and, worse, you can’t make good conclusions based on the data. Further, you’re incapable of seeing your error and correcting yourself, even when it’s been explained multiple times, further implying that you can’t digest new information and adapt your worldview.

          ^ This is poetry.

          1. That was rough.

          2. But you understand that trueman is stupid enough that he as yet does not know that he was gaming the stats.
            He admits to lying in order to promote a POV, but he has yet to understand the depths of his stupidity.

          3. It was so bad, I kind of felt sorry for mtrueman.

            It almost felt like those movie moments where they pull the guy off while screaming, “Stop it, you’re gonna kill him!”

            1. I told him early on that it was best to just stay down. But he kept trying to get back up.

          4. Missed it the first time around, that was a good read

          5. I read that exchange, he was thoroughly slain. Whether he knows it or not, presumably not.

          6. Irish, thanks for that pick-me-up. I have spent far too much of today on The Verge reading their Net Neutrality coverage and was trying to remember where I kept my belt in case I needed to hang myself.

            1. Upcoming ballot initiatives will requore putting trigger locks on belts to prevent suicidal hangings. Because it is the belt and not the person. I refer to them as assault belts.

        2. By the judge or the jury.

      2. It is a felony to deliver any firearm to any person reasonably believed to be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

        Emphasis added. “Your Honor, any reasonable person would believe that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm. I mean, just *look* at her!”

        “Reaonable” the wonderful weasel word statists love to use (which is also unfortunately in the Constitution and has an entire body of common law jurisprudence on such subjectivity).

        You might as well go the full length and make it a felony for not only giving someone a firearm who may have already violated some law, but also may still violate some law in the future.

    2. I’m actually wondering whether the initiative can be challenged at all legally. It’s vague, absurdly sweeping, and possibly a violation of the 2nd. And I’m still absolutely pissed that it passed.

      1. Quit crying and play your Borderlands.

        1. Like he needs encouragement.

          1. There’s a glitch where you can keep getting Moxxi’s laser again and again, and then can put them in the Grinder. It’s great!

            1. I’LL PUT YOUR MOM IN THE GRINDER

              1. If that’ll get me a legendary pistol, please do.

              2. Why is Epi’s mom on Grindr?

                1. He means the sandwich.

      2. The part where they deny second amendment rights to people who have been accused of a crime but not yet convicted is clearly unconstitutional.

        1. That’s federal law, and was part of the original Brady Bill. I think it would have been challenged by now if it were that easy.

          1. In the legal wasteland that followed US v Miller, I think no-one felt that second amendment challenges were worth doing. That may be changing (q.v., Heller v DC).

            Perhaps my lawyerly colleagues have a more reasoned (drink!) opinion…?

            1. There’s been dozens of lawsuits filed since McDonald v. Chicago, all going after the low-hanging fruit. AFAIK, no one’s gone after that provision yet, which makes me think it isn’t all that low-hanging.

            2. Listen, I come here to take a break from, among other things, differential equations. Keep your highfalutin name out of here!!

          2. That’s federal law, and was part of the original Brady Bill. I think it would have been challenged by now if it were that easy.

            Except that long guns didn’t require a background check, now they do in Washington, and now you can’t get one if you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor.

            1. Long guns have always required a background check if you buy one from an FFL. Again, that’s federal law. Not being able to get one if you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor is also part of Federal law, provided that misdemeanor is a domestic violence offense; you can thank the late Senator Frank Lautenberg for that one.

              The only places where I-594 really departs from Federal law is where it requires background checks on private transfers. I expect that the most likely route for attacking it via lawsuit would be to challenge the vagueness of just what constitutes a “transfer”, as it seems to be overly broad and vague to the point of criminalizing constitutionally protected behavior.

              1. You’re right. I was thinking of the seven day waiting period.

        2. The part where they deny second amendment rights to people who have been accused of a crime but not yet convicted is clearly unconstitutional.

          They can keep someone in jail who is accused but not yet convicted, so it’s not that clearly unconstitutional.

      3. If “reasonable and prudent” was (sadly) grounds for overturning Montana’s lack of a numeric speed limit, “reasonably believed” could be grounds for overturning this.

    3. I’m going to love to see the excuses progressives come up with when these laws end up sending tons of urban black people to prison.

      They probably won’t send any more urban black people to prison with this law.

      This law was specifically tailored to the core gun community, law abiding middle class people.

      Now, before you scream “racist”, my point is that I don’t see a disproportionate number of urban black youth’s being stuck in jail because they traded firearms with each other at the range.

      1. Are the people it was tailored for widely seen as a particular problem?

        1. Yeah. The gun control industry has seen people like me as the problem with gun violence. My particular philosophy on gun rights makes guns “available”.

          It’s the “available” moniker that’s the problem. If guns were less “available”, Columbine wouldn’t have happened.

          Therefore, anything that makes guns less “available” is the goal.

    4. What sort of cases was this provision formulated to solve? Were there people getting guns while criminal charges were pending, and then shooting people?

      1. What sort of cases was this provision formulated to solve?

        The private ownership of firearms. The goal is to make it so onerous that even if legal, no one will jumpt through all the hoops, process the red tape and navigate the legal minefield. It never was about crime or solving problems.

        1. The goal is to make it so onerous that even if legal, no one will jumpt through all the hoops, process the red tape and navigate the legal minefield. It never was about crime or solving problems.

          Basically, the progressive strategy on guns is the same as the conservative strategy on abortion.

      2. “What sort of cases was this provision formulated to solve?”

        I’ve been told the point of it all is to track who has guns.

        1. It is the first tangible step. If they’re to enforce it, they’ll need some sort of registry to know when and how each person acquired a firearm.

    5. It’s evil to throw non-violent people in prison for owning weed…

      You seem to be implying that proggies think it’s evil to throw people in prison for having weed, but that’s not my experience. My wife’s proggie FB acquaintances will post,share, and comment on every perceived made-up micro-aggression, but I’ve never one single time seen them get the slightest agitation at actual acts of aggression toward the “vulnerable” of our society. Like putting people in jail for non-violent “crimes.”

  2. I have the dream ticket for 2016 if we want to watch progressive identity politics eat itself in a glorious cannibalistic feast-

    CONDI/CARSON 2016!!!!

    Come for the progressive immolation! Stay to piss on the graves of their failure!

    1. “Black is beautiful.”

      1. Black is BOOTY-ful

        //ThatWasProbablyRacist

    2. Are either of them homosexual/transsexual/otherkin?

  3. AI’d say private back ground checks are hard to enforce.Say Bill sells a gun to his hunting buddy,how do you enforce that?I see sting operations coming down the pike.They just created another black market.

    1. They can’t, unless they build a registry. Which is exactly what they’re going to do, legally or illegally.

      1. “The dog clearly signalled that there was an illegal firearm on the premises.”

        1. We had reason to believe the firearm was hidden in his ass.

    2. The implied/unstated goal is to have a chilling effect on private firearms transactions. People will be afraid of breaking the law, so fewer of them will sell without an FFL holder being involved.

      And the extra-police-state bonus is that you can selectively charge people with crimes.

      Plus, when it doesn’t work, that will be used as ammunition (pun intended) to create a firearms registry.

      1. The implied/unstated goal is to have a chilling effect on private firearms transactions. People will be afraid of breaking the law, so fewer of them will sell without an FFL holder being involved.

        It’s actually how the law is here in California but I don’t know what effect it has on private sales.

        I’m sure if you’re rich, famous, or connected, it’s just a slap on the wrist.

    3. Bill gets in a fight with his wife, she gets pissed, turns him in.

  4. ‘Won’t you please vote for our wonderful law that will make sure no one is ever killed again? And it really doesn’t interfere with anyone’s rights!’
    Straight from the ballot box to the court house.

    1. You obviously don’t understand. The people have spoken, so that nullifies your natural right of self defence.

      Next up: any other right disliked by progressives.

      How could such a plan possibly go wrong?

      1. The people have spoken

        All I want for Christmas is for progs to realize that natural/negative rights are inherent and not legitimately removed by majority rule. And that results of majority rule are not inherently moral.

        Also, I want a Unicorn.

        1. Oo! I want a Unicorn too! Ask Santa for me when you’re asking about that other thing.

        2. All I want for Christmas is for progs to realize that natural/negative rights are inherent and not legitimately removed by majority rule.

          They didn’t learn it when they pushed through social engineering on race during the Progressive Era…

      2. Next up: any other right disliked by progressives.

        Donations to or political support of the non-Democratic parties and candidates?

  5. They have their eye on doing the same in Nevada in 2016

    Lol. Good fucking luck. Las Vegas is full of California’s wretched refuse, but even there gun rights are pretty strong. Doubt you’re gonna take a state with open carry and no registration for either long guns or handguns (except in Clark County) and fear monger it into requiring background checks on private transfers.

    1. Washington has open carry and no registration for either long guns or handguns (not in any county) and they fear mongered it into requiring background checks on private transfers.

      This is their new front. Count on it.

      1. No magazine limits, no city could pass any restriction that superseded state law– in the constitution. NOW we have weak gun laws.

        1. This state was so good, and in one swoop, that was just gutted. God damn this sticks in my craw. Why is every state I inhabit being fucked on gun laws?

          1. Because you’re a spy for the Bloomberg Syndicate, and now that your work here is done, it’s off to Nevada?

      2. Washington has open carry

        In name only. State v. Spencer obliterated it in any real sense of the term. If you can be construed as “manifesting an intent to intimidate another” per RCW 9.41.270 by simply carrying a particular type of gun in certain types of neighborhoods at a given time of day, basically you can only carry subject to the FYTW clause.

        and no registration for either long guns or handguns

        No registration by name, although for handgun purchases you have to fill out a state application including your name, address, DOB, gender, race and photo ID, which is permanently recorded and must be approved by law enforcement. It’s hard to construe that as anything other than registration, even if it isn’t called registration.

        Having lived in both places, in conservative, gun-friendly eastern WA for 22 years, I can tell you Nevada, in addition to not having the above stipulations on purchase or carry, has a… different gun culture. I haven’t been out of my house since I moved here without seeing somebody open carrying. I can drive 15 minutes in any direction and find a full service range where I can play with a machine gun. There’s a lot of really fanatical gun nuts here. I don’t think Las Vegas has enough California twats yet to push this over the top.

        1. I should mention too that Clark County’s handgun registration scheme was grandfathered in, and is the only local regulation allowed under state preemption.

          You can also open carry in a vehicle here.

          I may well be wrong since Las Vegas has turned into a fucking suburb of L.A., but again, I just don’t see it flying here.

      3. all you have to have is a conveniently timed mass shooting just before the election. Conspiracy theory? maybe why else would they always kill them selves, so as not to be interrogated. Am I being sarcastic I’m not so sure my self anymore.

    2. Good fucking luck. Las Vegas is full of California’s wretched refuse, but even there gun rights are pretty strong.

      Washington had some of the strongest gun rights in the nation, bar none. Washington wasn’t some weak-kneed state that was hovering on the edge of yet another gun ban.

      This was won entirely on emotion, and the press STILL keeps saying that it closes ‘gun show loopholes’ which didn’t exist in Washington.

      1. See above. WA is pretty good, especially by way of comparison to certain other states, but with some fairly big caveats. Caveats that make support for expanded background checks less surprising, IMO. You have to realize, most of the state is pretty deeply progressive as well. If not for preemption I suspect western WA would look very, very different in terms of gun rights. The urban centers are just barely to the right of Berkeley.

  6. I will be giving money to any group which plans to put up a court challenge to this initiative.

  7. gross misdemeanor

    Which gets you a year in prison.

  8. (e) A federally licensed gunsmith who receives a firearm solely
    for the purposes of service or repair, or the return of the firearm to
    its owner by the federally licensed gunsmith;

    This text is one example within the exclusions.

    What this means is, had they not excluded this, it would have been illegal for me to drop my pistol off at a gunsmith so that he could make repairs on it, and then give it back to me.

    The fact that they had to exclude this, tells you just how expansive the concept of ‘transferring’ a firearm was. Fuck this state in the ear.

    1. So? you could “accidentally” leave a gun at someone’s house and the home owner could be reported for a felon gun transfer?

  9. Oh no, this is bad news for all the criminals who obtain their guns from gun shows, gun stores, and legal gun owners.

    1. Yes! Both of them!

  10. Abysmally bad law out here. And that half a million the NRA spent could not have been used less effectively…there was *zero* presence from them on this issue on TV, radio, print, or Internet (but about every third ad was supporting the bill). They basically ceded this to the gun grabbers and let their bullshit “It’s just a background check” lie go uncontested. Total lack of effort, from what I could see…just another reason to dislike Wayne LaPierre’s “leadership”. He’s a blowhard who comes off like a combative prick but offers little in an actual fight.

    On the plus side, 594 is so badly written and bans such a broad range of activities (it is literally illegal to *touch* another person’s weapon without a government permit and a background check, according to the law) that it is inevitable that a legal challenge will be coming up on it shortly. And considering the court’s rulings on D.C. attempted end-runs around the 2nd Amendment, I find it unlikely that this is going to pass constitutional muster just because it was on a ballot.

    1. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get the necessary signatures to put it’s repeal on the ballot once gun owners in east Washington get mad enough. Then the money bags will have to spend millions to defend it against a word of mouth campaign at gun ranges and gun stores.

    2. I, too, am a Washington resident. I doubt that any of the major media outlets in the state would have given voice to the opposition. The two “newspapers” were decidedly biased and the TV stations were obviously receiving a whole lot of revenue from the I-594 campaign.

      A low profile by the NRA may well have been good strategy. Blaming the big, bad NRA is a major tenet of the anti-liberty crowd and garners them support. The NRA may have realized their efforts would be better spent on the court battles. We’ll see.

  11. http://readersupportednews.org…..ss-anymore

    I found the above link on the prog FB page “US Uncut”. This is their new strategy for more than gun control.

    Of course, they only recognize “the will of the people” when it goes their way

    1. Holy crap. That’s frightening stuff.

    2. Let’s give direct democracy a try

      , and vote ourselves more of other peoples property and to deny people of inalienable individual rights.

      Seriously, WTF did I just read?

      1. Because the way it happens is the point? The problem is ignorant citizens who accept others taking their rights away be it republican representative government, royalty or direct citizen legislation. Prop 13 was “direct democracy” too.
        Most people are completely ignorant that they even have rights that aren’t bestowed upon them conditionally by government.

  12. criminalizing 2nd amendment rights. maybe it’s time for initiatives that criminalize infringing on 2nd amendment rights.

  13. Gay marriage bans passed by ballot initiatives were, for the most part, crushed by the courts. I would think we could take a page from that playbook and do the same with gun control initiatives.

  14. This is how freedom slowly erodes. Stupid citizens.

  15. It passed with 60 pecent support. This led sources from Time to Mother Jones to The Atlantic to declare that taking it straight to the voters is the new way for gun control to succeed in an America allegedly paralyzed by over-powerful pro-gun lobbying to politicians.

    It also helps if the gun grabbers hit the jackpot and get a school shooting in the state less than a month before the election. Preferably one where the victims linger for a while before dying, so it stays in the news.

  16. The Washington legislature should move to try to de-fang the more onerous portions of the universal background check law by passing legislation to give anyone free, anonymous, public access to the federal NICS background check database of persons prohibited from owning firearms and then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain a piece of paper that documents you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. If the only goal is to have “universal background checks” to “keep the people safe” there is really no reason to get the government or an FFL involved any further in the process.

    1. From the post-election statements by the I-594 campaign it is pretty clear the goal goes far beyond universal background checks.

      1. As is tradition. Goalpost shifting and gun control go hand in hand.

  17. Wait… shouldn’t this have passed with 90% support?

  18. my friend’s sister-in-law makes $82 /hr on the laptop . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her paycheck was $15787 just working on the laptop for a few hours. hop over to this website….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  19. I live in Washington State and followed the initiative closely. It is important to note that the $10 million campaign to pass it was able to achieve a virtually complete media blackout of any opposition to the measure.

    I question whether the measure would have passed had the voters been made aware of the extent of the “transfer” provisions. It’s a safe bet that many voters didn’t read the text of I-594 or didn’t understand its effects. I missed several of its key provisions the first time I read it. And the second time. And the third. Given the amount of time I have spent in law libraries in my life it was, frankly, a little embarrassing. But I asked some friends to read the text of the initiative and found that I wasn’t the only one to miss certain details.

    At the same time, there was an onslaught of misleading advertising touting the bill as “closing the background check loophole for sales.” When asked about the “hidden” provisions of the initiative, campaign spokespeople successfully dodged the questions most of the time. The resultant voter confusion was evident in online discussions among proponents and opponents.

    There are rules in Washington to prevent legislative “log-rolling” which are intended to prevent this sort of voter confusion. This initiative was a perfect example of log-rolling but whether the courts will see it that way remains to be seen.

  20. If you want a look “inside the box” here is a link to a flow chart of the “simple, common sense” I-594 to help you determine what is and isn’t breaking the law according to its provisions:

    http://i.imgur.com/QLMj1Em.png

    I don’t know who created the flow chart but he/she licensed it under CC0 1.0 Universal ? Public Domain Dedication for public distribution.

  21. It also makes it illegal for certain others to possess firearms, including people who: 1, 2, 3, …

    Which one of these restrictions do you think should be lifted?

    1. So, you think it’s cool to violate a person’s rights without due process?

      Read the 5th Amendment and get back to us fucknugget.

  22. That flow chart is bullshit.

    Living up to your reputation as gun-nutters. Keep at it.

    1. Which part is bullshit?

  23. Hey natie poo, come try and grab my weapons or the legally owned weapons of many here. Let’s just say that won’t end well, so nutless pussies like you need the state to pussify everyone else.

    People like you are beyond despicable. Since you are too scared to stand up for your self you defer to a bureaucratic mess to protect your rights…bwwwaaaahhaaa. You don’t even qualify as stupid.

    BTW dipshit, criminals don’t buy guns through legal channels so your smug idea that gun laws will keep criminals from buying guns proves your retardation. Fuck off, you despicable twat.

  24. Proposal: A law can never be added by ballot initiative, but a law can be deleted by same.

  25. Ballot initiatives just go to show that people will vote themselves into tyranny rather than liberty. Stop voting & otherwise participating in the electoral system. We’ll only be free & our gun rights safe when we replace political systems with markets for the “services” govts attempt to deliver.

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