I received an email from a reader with a attached document from the State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife dated December 2 and addressed to “Hunter Education Instructors” with the subject of “Analysis of Initiative 594.”
The part of most interest to me is the following:
Although we are still evaluating I-594, it does not initially appear that student-to-student transfers of firearms would fall within the general WDFW exemption for law enforcement agencies. For students under eighteen, however, temporary firearms transfers for educational purposes are exempt if the student is under the direct supervision and control of a responsible adult (such as a Hunter Education Instructor) who may lawfully possess firearms. Students eighteen and older are not entitled to this exemption. However, regardless of the age of the person, temporary transfers that occur at an established, authorized shooting range are also exempt, if the transfer occurs, and the firearm is kept at all times, at the range. If adult student-to-student transfers are not exempt, then adult students may, without triggering I-594’s background check/transfer requirements—
- Use inert firearms or air rifles (which do not meet the definition of a firearm); or
- Hand their functional firearms to an instructor who then hands it to the other student.
In summary, the transfer/background check exemption I- 594 applies to the following transfers of firearms to or from WDFW Hunter Education Instructors while in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program:
- Between WDFW employees and Hunter Education Instructors
- From one Hunter Education Instructor to another Hunter Education Instructor
- Between Hunter Education Instructors and NGOs
- Between Hunter Education Instructors and students
WDFW is the “State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife”. The volunteer instructors to WDFW are considered “law enforcement” or else they would not receive the the exemption described above. And notice that students are not allowed to transfer the guns between themselves. They must transfer the gun to an instructor who then transfers it to another student.
Private instructors, such as myself, would not have an exemption unless we were at an “authorized range” (“authorized” is undefined). We cannot do classroom work that involves gun handling at any location other than an “authorized” range. Even then it is in doubt unless we are using the guns that are “kept at all times” at the range.
So, now you have it. All those proponents of I-594 said we were alarmist and crazy for saying things like this would require a background check. Now we have word from the State of Washington that says, in essence, “You gun nuts were right about I-594 and the anti-gun people lied to get it passed.” But that is to be expected. Anti-Second Amendment people have long had a culture of deception.
Update: The complete letter is posted here.
Update2: It is important that you also read The Cluemeter: Washington State violates the Letter of Initiative 594. It appears that WDFW may have misunderstood the definition of “law enforcement officer” as it applies to I-594.