I-594 results

From Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:

BELLEVUE, WA – Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the effective date of Initiative 594 in Washington State, but the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms says it does not appear the measure has been effective at all in preventing any crimes, noting that there have been “no arrests, no prosecutions and no convictions under this statute.”

“The law didn’t prevent a 15-year-old in Snohomish County from buying what may have been a stolen gun that he mishandled last weekend to accidentally shoot his younger brother,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “It didn’t prevent the July murder of Donnie Chin in Seattle’s International District. It didn’t keep a gun out of the hands of a known teenage gang member who is now facing charges relating to an August shooting in which the victim was walking with his son in Seattle.”

“Despite public records requests to agencies around the state, we can find no record of any enforcement of this new law in the year since it took effect,” he continued. “The only discernible impact of the law has been to inconvenience honest gun owners and add more red tape to gun shows.

“There is something else about last year’s election that nobody has questioned,” Gottlieb observed. “When you do some math, the numbers don’t add up and never did. The initiative campaign cost more than $10 million, when it theoretically should not have cost a dime. The proponents claimed that background checks are supported by 80 to 90 percent of the public, yet the measure passed by less than 60 percent of the popular vote, in which only about half of the state’s voters actually returned ballots.

“If you have overwhelming public support for any issue,” he explained, “you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to convince people to actually vote for it. Now the law seems to be gathering dust, without preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.

“It is particularly disappointing that the media, which supported I-594, has failed to ask these questions,” Gottlieb noted. “I-594 is a trophy, a flimsy sham that has allowed anti-gunners to claim they did something about violent crime when in fact they haven’t accomplished anything. We don’t believe it will survive a court challenge, and in the meantime it penalizes law-abiding citizens while the criminals laugh and ignore it.”

Let me repeat, with emphasis, “no arrests, no prosecutions and no convictions under this statute.” This is despite, as predicted, we have people openly saying they will not comply.

So what does this mean? It means the prosecutors know that as soon as they prosecute someone it will revive our lawsuit. That lawsuit, if allowed to go forward, has a decent chance of success. The anti-gun people would rather have the law stand and never be enforced than to defend the law in court. They know the law only affects those who are virtually no risk of criminal behavior and they are okay with that, if not knowingly had this harassment as their original goal.


4 thoughts on “I-594 results

  1. “The only discernible impact of the law has been to inconvenience honest gun owners and add more red tape to gun shows.”

    As you said; if that it all it accomplished, it is enough, a “step in the right direction” as far as authoritarians are concerned.

    “Now the law seems to be gathering dust, without preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.”

    Whoa. Let’s be more careful there, folks. So; does this mean that if the law resulted in a measurable reduction in crime, or a measurable reduction in guns in “the wrong hands” then we should support it? The second amendment has no such conditions, qualifiers or caveats. Nor does the first amendment become null and void in the case of people being made angry or having hurt feelings. Nor do fourth and fifth amendment violations become acceptable if a few criminals use them to avoid prosecution or conviction.

    WRONG METRIC there, Allen. The proper metric is, “Does this infringe (impose on the margins) on the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms?” Statistics do not modify it one way or the other, and so they are irrelevant. Liberty (and constitutionally enumerated rights) is a moral concept, and it is best defended as such. If morality becomes a throw-away issue for some people (as it has for all Progressives), then our moral arguments will highlight their vacuous nature, and “all the better”, I say.

    If you want to use a purely pragmatic argument, then here it is;
    The bad guys will always be armed, and so the only question is whether the good guys will also be armed. But that is still a moral argument because it presumes we know “good” from “bad”. If you’re Margaret Sanger and you believe that black people are “unfit” for example, then you won’t see the huge murder rates in some of our inner cities as a “bad” thing, for example.

    Progressives have oft been cited as believing that there is no right and wrong, just differing opinions of equal status. They also believe that the Earth is over-populated and that “something” needs to “be done” about that. When it comes right down to it, THIS is the sort of thing we are battling. Our enemy does not acknowledge right from wrong, except that if you are right, you are wrong to think so, and if they are wrong, you are wrong to think so. You are not only wrong, you are oppressing them by thinking there IS wrong, and so they have a grievance against you that needs settling.

  2. Is there any data available regarding the percentage of background checks in WA post I-594 that pertain to private transactions? In Colorado after passing “universal” background check legislation I recall that number as being about 5% which suggests either the 40% figure bandied about by gun controllers is a load of bull, or massive noncompliance with the law. Or, perhaps a combination of the two.

  3. You can check here for the statistics:


    There were a total of 28,247 “Dealer sales” NICS checks for handguns and long guns in Washington State in November 2015. There were 784 “Private sales” NICS checks for long guns/handguns during that same time period.

    So the “Private sale” percentage is (784 / (28,247 + 784)) * 100 = 2.7%.

    That’s a whole order of magnitude off of even the lowest estimate I’ve seen of private sales, which suggests to me massive non-compliance with the law.

    The same sort of thing has happened in New York State with the NY SAFE Act.

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