‘Tracking the truth’ of gun initiative TV ads

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SEATTLE — The general election is a month away and already the airwaves are flooded with ads for two controversial gun initiatives.

I-594 and I-591 would create two different background check systems for gun purchases here in Washington.

Initiative 594

I-594 is being pushed by gun control advocates.  It would create a universal background check system for all gun purchases, not just those at licensed firearms dealers.  Here’s a key part of the group's recent TV ad:

Criminals who fail a background check can simply go on-line or to a gun show and buy a gun from a stranger.”  

We are labeling this claim:  Mostly True.

Things would indeed change under I-594, but what the advertisement doesn’t tell you is that there are many gun shows here in Washington that already conduct background checks for anyone who buys a firearm at their events.  So, the situation is not as uncontrolled as this ad suggests.

Initiative 591

I-591 is being pushed by gun rights advocates who are worried about any changes to the current gun background check system.

Their main purpose is to keep Washington’s gun background checks consistent with the current federal system.  And right now the feds require background checks only when guns are purchased at a licensed firearms dealer.  So, I-591 would, in effect, preserve the status quo.

But the biggest claim in advertising for I-591 involves something different.  This is from their latest TV ad:

Stop gun confiscation without due process.”

We are calling this claim Mostly False.

There isn’t arbitrary gun confiscation here in Washington State.  Only in limited circumstances are firearms taken away by law enforcement.  If someone is a convicted felon, if they have been involuntarily committed, or if they have a restraining order.  The ad suggests something needs to be stopped that isn’t happening here in Washington and wouldn’t be allowed under the federal constitution.

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  • Iam Thenra

    Tell the people of New Jersey that and soon California. To move a mountain you start with small stones–594 would not be obeyed by criminals in any event, it would only hinder law abiding citizens from defending themselves and their family.

  • Gus

    I-594 defines transfer as a change of possession and requires background checkson all transfers, unless specifically exempted. This is transfers, not sales.

    The exemptions provided are gifts to family, shooting a gun at an authorized governing body gun range, and under immediate threat of death.

    The exceptions are actually just affirmative defenses (see section 9), not exemptions meaning that any possession of any gun for any reason is supect to commiting a crime unless you can prove that youre the rightful owner of the gun. There is no presumption of innocence.

    Family storing your guns while your out of town? Criminal without two background checks, two use taxes (on each firearm), two fees, and two trips to the FFL.

    Shooting guns with family in the woods where legal and sharing guns while doing it? Criminal under 594 without two background checks, two trips to the FFL, two use taxes (on each firearm) and two fees.

    Teaching a friend how to properly operate a firearm on private or public land where legal to shoot? Criminal under 594 without two background checks, two trips to the FFL, two use taxes (on each firearm) and two fees.

    Penalty for not doing a background check under these circumstances? FELONY (misdemeanor on the first offense)

    This law doesn’t target criminals, it targets you and me. It makes firearms ownership too onerous to do legally. It’s a civilian disarmament scheme orchestrated by the wealthy elites like bloomberg, ballmer, gates, allen, and haueur who don’t have to protect their families. I-594 is not intended for public safety it is intended for criminalization of gun ownership.

  • greg

    CR you are truly ill-informed and parroting the I-594 canned lies. Nothing has changed for decades – whether a firearm is advertised in the newspaper or on the internet. It is already a federal felony for anyone to provide a firearm in any manner to someone unable to possess it. You can locate a firearm online or at a gun show – where ever – but for the physical sale / transfer nothing has changed and the felony disincentive remains.

    And GUESS WHAT? If I-594 passed criminals could still locate firearms online or at gun show and if the seller were or wanted to also be a felon that sale would still happen. I-594 will do nothing to stop criminals and will hurt sportsmen, hunters, individual security, cost jobs, increase taxes and make unwitting felons of people that can’t follow the convoluted purposely vague wording. I-594 is a Trojan horse being promoted as “background checks” but really meant to damage people’s rights. I-591 is an ethical, straight-forward, concise and responsible supporter of the national background check system, but that complex concept seems to elude those buffaloed by 594, including CR.

  • tim

    I-594 will do nothing to stop criminals from obtaining guns. Criminals get them on the street, theft, ect. All this will do is single out law abiding gun owners. If I want to trade or sell a firearm to someone I know we’ll and trust should be my freedom of choice to do so, without big brothers permission or to take away! Anti gun laws encourage confiscation! And favor criminals.

  • greg

    confiscation – is it happening in WA state now? shouldn’t be. is it happening in other states? yes, along with radical bans that prohibit widely long term owned firearms and accessories. The owners are forced by these new laws to either sell the item out of state or turn it over to the givernment for disposal. That is a form of confiscation as well & has basically caused an insurrection & created a whole new black market in NY, CT etc.

    The 594 folks have this type of goal next in mind – remember, 594 is “a good start”. – NOT!!! It is blatant impairment & infringement – economic burden, logistical burden & large scale restriction of use/freedoms.

  • greg

    the problem with many authors of articles like this is they are not close enough to the subject. My guess – the author doesn’t own firearms & therefore doesn’t know/practice the 20K existing laws & doesn’t follow closely all of the activity nationally that provides extremely relevant context – just a guess! Of course this would result in highly suspect content & conclusions. Maybe having someone that practices their 2nd amendment rights as an SME would be best – just saying!!

  • medic75

    Some great points here. The report on 594 and ads are skewed. Try going on gunbroker.com or any other gun auction site. These firearms must be shipped to a FFL holder. Basically the same as buying a gun locally. A background check is done the gun info logged. Criminals will always get firearms. They will steal them from us that pass a background and use them against use once we have none from stupid laws like this. Q12 research your facts before post garbage

    • 03sv1g

      You’re right, Medic. The 594 ad I keep seeing where somebody is typing gunbroker.com into their computer really pisses me off because it’s so blatantly false. The problem is that most people probably just believe it as a fact because they saw it on t.v. I don’t understand how these political ads can tell blatant lies and get away with it. That’s why I think 594 is going to pass with flying colors, because most people don’t realize that you CAN’T go to gunbroker and buy a gun with “no questions asked” as the ad states.

  • 12rmp

    I’m calling out a major bias here.

    The report looks at I-594 without questioning the consequences as far as the legality issues that might arise from it’s passage, which would absolutely make the concerns addressed in I-591 entirely valid. If a gun is loaned to a friend without a background check, for example, under I-594 is could be confiscated. I-591 would stop this change from opening that door, making their claim entirely TRUE.

    But the report dings I-591 for being ‘mostly untrue’, not because it couldn’t happen, but because it hasn’t actually happened yet. Gun rights supporters aren’t claiming that it has. They are fighting the possibility, not the historical frequency. They are concerned it is a possibility with this new bill being proposed. The I-591 ad is JUST AS TRUE as the I-594.

    On the other hand, the reporters don’t even address how often criminals ARE getting around background checks by methods that would be stopped by I-594. In short, the same ‘frequency’ test that they errantly used to slam I-591 wasn’t applied, or even questioned, with I-594.

  • 12rmp

    To claim I-594’s claims are ‘mostly not true’ because they haven’t happened yet…when talking about a law that hasn’t passed yet…is entirely disingenuous.

    Imagine a bill that could ban the sales of cigarettes entirely. This would be like advocates for the bill saying “Opponents are lying. Smokers have nothing to worry about, because we’d never banned cigarettes before.” Of course you haven’t…the law was not in place yet! How does that make the opponent at all ‘dishonest’ about their concerns, and how is what happened before the law was in place the least bit relevant?

  • Jo Coles

    Today, a person can sell firearms at a garage sale, no questions asked.
    Is that how accessible we want guns in our communities? Safer communities = safer schools.

    • Greg

      maybe you just skipped all the prior posts – if you provide a firearm to someone unable to legally possess the weapon you are a FELON. It has been that way for decades. Firearms have been around for hundreds of years. What has changed? Your children. Raise your children to respect one another & the law. When they break the laws enforce them vigorously. Don’t undermine my rights due to your lack of engagement. Where is personal accountability? The I-594 idealist pacifists want us all to live in a bubble. Life is not that way. More people die from fists & clubs than from firearms – try banning those next.

      Final thought – for all of you thinking using a gun to commit suicide is “firearm violence”. Where is your stand against rope violence or belt violence or pill violence or bridge violence. You guys continue to grasp at irrational straws & have repeatedly been refuted by facts & 2 layers of constitutions. Concentrate on the criminals & mentally ill and quit trying to take or damage the rights of the law abiding. thanks

    • TC Miller

      You would be breaking the law if you were to do that. Try going to a “garage sale” to buy a firearm and tell the person you want to buy the gun “no questions asked”, see what kind of reaction you get. Personally I would sell a firearm to anyone that couldn’t show me valid Washington state ID and either I’ve known them 20 years or they show me a valid CPL. The only person that sells a firearm to a felon, is another felon.
      How many deaths would have been prevented if teachers and administrators in schools were trained and authorized to carry a concealed firearm? Its unfortunate how our society has decade, but today firearm safety ought to be taught in school just like first aid.

  • k2

    It’s actually explicitly clear in 594. There is no ambiguity. Take a friend, wife, daughter shooting, hand them a gun to shoot, break the law.

    Temporary transfers, which means simple change of possession, requires a background check.

    That is the intent of 594. It is not accidental, not an oversight. It is deliberate.

    (25) “Transfer” means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.

    One of the explicit exemptions:

    (c) A temporary transfer of possession of a firearm if such transfer is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the person to whom the firearm is transferred if:
    (i) The temporary transfer only lasts as long as immediately necessary to prevent such imminent death or great bodily harm; and
    (ii) The person to whom the firearm is transferred is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law;

    If it were not the intent of 594 to criminalize temporary transfers of possession, then the above exemption would not exist.

    Bottom line. 594 clearly and unambiguously requires background checks when you merely hand a gun to a friend. That is its intent.

  • greg

    True 12RMP – Sad to see journalistic integrity sacrificed for personal beliefs – I guess the author will struggle with that decision for awhile. Tough to say if this topic was outside their specialty or if there was some other thought process in play specific to the topic. We’re still looking for some quality objective reporting – need an unbiased position that understands the laws & dynamics – next!!

  • TC Miller

    Two things about I-594. The writer was either intentionally trying to create a convoluted mess of the existing reasonable gun laws we have, or the writer was the most incompetent and muddled person on the planet. That said, I guess I’ll have to allow no one could be that incompetent. The article by C R Douglas makes him out to be so poorly informed that he needs to send back his four Emmy Awards and find a new avocation. He clearly failed to do his research beyond a single source. He clearly failed to even solicit an independent legal opinion on either Initiative. And it would appear as though he couldn’t think for himself through all 18 pages of mishmashed jargon in the text of I-594. And what could be simpler than the half page I-591. Why would he for a moment, act like it was somehow aimed at some current gun confiscations in Washington? That isn’t what its about at all! And they let him pose as a “Political Analyst” ? I just wish we had real journalist again.

  • Alphabet Soup

    “We are labeling this claim: Mostly True.”

    And I’m labeling you as mostly BS artists. I wonder how many people you duped with your distortions of the truth?

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