The Trojan Horse – Initiative 594 (Now What?)

I promised last week that we would look at actions you might take, now, to protect yourself from some of the difficulties and landmines you will experience if Initiative 594 passes in November.

The bottom line is this: not much. Some attorneys around the state are willing to help you set up a family trust, but there is doubt about whether or not such a trust could be established in a timely manner. A street-sense suggestion is that you formally give the firearms away now to those family and friends you wish to have them, then keep the firearms safe for them. Holding on to someone else’s firearms, however, would be an illegal transfer under 594. At the end of every conversation I have had about this is a certainty that—if it passes—594 will end up in court over its re-write of Washington law to make transfer violations the equivalent of “serious crimes” and class C felonies, its consecutive sentence requirements, and its several conflicts with federal law.

In our last episode, I passed along a small handful of the concerns Phil and the Washington Arms Collectors ( have with the initiative. I mentioned that the Council of Police and Sheriffs ( had voted in June to oppose Initiative 594.

If you read all 18 pages of the initiative for yourself, you certainly saw that its certified title, below, falls somewhere between misleading and dishonest.

Certified ballot title for Initiative 594:

“This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.

“Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]”

As widely publicized, background checks would be required for nearly all sales or transfers. “Transfer,” remember, includes gifts and loans to another—even loaning a rifle to a buddy for test shooting or to replace his or her own disabled firearm. Transfer, under 594, goes far beyond transactions involving a sale or trade…and well beyond just a simple inconvenience for law-abiding citizens supporting the greater good of keeping society safe.

Allow me to pass along a couple more examples of the traps in this initiative—under that phrase “with specific exceptions.” One of these comes from my own experience in Wyoming ten days ago.

Suppose you keep a rifle in your ranch truck and one of your youngsters drives the truck on your property. Under the provisions of 594, you would have both acted illegally unless you were in the truck and the kid was a minor. If not, a dealer with a federal firearms license (FFL) would have to handle a transfer at the beginning and the end of the drive.

Among the five of us who attended the 2014 Antelope and Deer Safari in Wyoming, were buddies Steve Kiesel and Hal Mason. It quickly became obvious that repairs I made a few years ago to my favorite 7mm hunting rifle had come undone. Hal offered me the use of his sweet-shooting .243, as he was using another rifle this year. Steve offered me the use of his .270 as he had already filled his tags with it. I opted to use Steve’s rifle as I was a bit more familiar with it, and headed off on my own to make deer meat.

This exact scenario plays out across the US every hunting season—probably a thousand times. Such a loan is simple courtesy. Under 594, however, that loan would have been an illegal transfer. Even though we were all hunting legally, Hal could not “transfer” his spare rifle to me without an FFL dealer and paperwork. Steve could loan me his rifle without such paperwork, but only if he stayed by my side while I hunted. Thus, under the provisions of 594, we would have broken a part of the law covered by that phrase in the ballot title: “with specific exceptions.”

This week I have heard one person speak of “an epidemic of gun violence” and somewhere in this rag, I saw a reference to the same thing. At some level it comes down the The Old Man’s questions about defining the problem to be solved. Honoring The Old Man’s inquiring mind, we might think about where such an epidemic exists and how this initiative is going to solve that “epidemic.” It’s a bit over the top, but this seems akin to quarantining Ellensburg residents to stop the terrifying spread of ebola in West Africa. We will soon look at existing firearms rules and such “epidemics.”

Explore this for yourself. Read Initiative 594 and debate “analysis” of it next Tuesday, 6 p.m. at the Hal Holmes Center. A variety of folks who have carefully studied the initiative, including representatives of the National Rifle Association, will be there. Bring your views and let’s talk.

Ballot Inititiative 594 is a Trojan Horse. It will significantly alter the way you, your family and your friends use and enjoy your firearms. It will also, in my view, seriously impact your ability to keep and bear arms. Contact every person you know—especially on the West Side—and ask them to read the whole text. Then ask if that is the future they truly would like to see. If not, they must vote against 594 and in favor of 591.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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