That Pesky I-594, Continued…

You may recall last fall’s conversations about Initiative 594, the statewide “background check” law which was passed by Washington voters. The last column I wrote about that initiative was published on the Daily Record’s Editorial Page – I had rather strong opinions on the matter. What got me writing about this now is a community event happening next Thursday, June 18, at Hal Holmes.

The Cascade Field and Stream Club, in partnership with the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club, will sponsor Adina Hicks, J.D. at the 7 pm event next week. Hicks is the Executive Director of Protect Our Gun Rights Washington and the newly appointed Washington State Director of Education for the Second Amendment Foundation. She served as one of the Washington state Campaign Field Representatives for the National Rifle Association “No on I-594” campaign, has been a legislative aide in Olympia and the Campaign Coordinator for Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders. She will speak to Second Amendment issues, and activities related to I-594 since the election.

You are probably aware of a couple recent efforts to overturn or modify the provisions of I-594.

Work to pass legislation came up short, largely because – except with a super-majority (two-thirds) vote – initiatives passed by voters cannot be legislatively modified for at least two years after becoming law. While there are enough votes to modify some portions of the initiative, the goal is for a larger action. That did not happen in the 2015 Legislative Session.

A group of citizens took the initiative to court, but their suit was thrown out because they could not show that they had been harmed by the law’s provisions. The bottom line of all that was that – given the extreme penalties for the Class C felonies built into the law – none of the parties to the lawsuit had been willing to violate key provisions of I-594 and get themselves arrested, so they had not been “harmed.”

Over the past few months, there have been a number of impacts (including program suspensions) to youth shooting programs, to some firearms safety training classes and to how business has been done at gun shows across the state. Some of the changes under the new law are so confusing that a number of law enforcement officials across the state have refused to react in a number of circumstances. Washington Arms Collectors is a membership organization which probably sponsors the majority of firearms shows across the state has instituted a $10 fee for private firearms transfers among its members.

Time will tell, of course, whether any provision of Initiative 594 makes us or our children safer. I have yet to see that other states which previously passed similarly restrictive transfer rules are bragging about new levels of safety for their residents and citizens.

There are many good reasons that the 6,500 members of the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs opposed I-594. I have yet to talk with anyone living under our Constitution and Bill of Rights who can identify a situation in which we changed criminal behavior by criminalizing lawful behavior. I have yet to see what is gained by the provisions in I-594 which criminalize behaviors which have been accepted as ethical and honorable for hundreds of years.

After numerous conversations with businesses and individuals, it is even more clear to me now that last fall’s vote made many of our firearms traditions difficult and/or illegal and altered the way we law-abiding citizens use and enjoy our firearms. In my view, it seriously impacts our ability to keep and bear arms.

This is not one of those “West-side” issues. I-594 passed 59% to 41% – statewide and in Kittitas County. Let me put this in context; if your friends represent a cross-section of Kittitas County (as I think mine do), two of every five of them consciously voted to mess with your ability to use and enjoy your firearms.

The joint Field & Stream event with Adina Hicks is next Thursday at 7 p.m. at Hal Holmes. Adina will discuss provisions in the Federal and State Constitutions that protect our right to keep and bear arms – and recently passed Washington laws that infringe on that right. Lively conversations are anticipated. You are welcome.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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