Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blowback Against Washington State’s Anti-gun Initiative Just Beginning

Despite opposition from individual gun owners, Washington State sheriffs, the state’s Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association, Initiative 594 passed easily on Tuesday, November 4, by 59 percent to 41 percent, with Bloomberg's money promoting myths about it.

This makes Washington the seventh state (along with the District of Columbia) to require universal background checks not only on all sales of firearms but on “transfers” as well, even between friends. Washington is the first state to pass such restrictions through a citizen-driven initiative.

Largely unknown to voters, the complex 18-page initiative also greatly expands the state’s handgun registration program, with every sale or transfer of a handgun resulting in every party having his or her name entered into the state’s Department of Licensing database.

One of the many myths circulated widely about the initiative was that it would keep criminals from obtaining firearms on the open market such as at gun shows. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, however, in a report issued in May, 2013, 77 percent of state prison inmates who are in jail for gun crimes acquired their weapons through “street” sources which included “theft or burglary,” drug dealers, and fences operating in the black or underground market. That i594 would have no effect in such acquisitions seemed to be lost on Washington State’s voters.

Initiative 594 regulates all sales and transfers of firearms in the state. As the NRA noted in one of its broadsheets:

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