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Column: “Without firearms, there is no freedom”

By Representative David Taylor

In my previous article, I introduced you to Initiative 594, an Initiative to the Legislature related to background checks and gun registration.

It’s important to understand the various provisions of the initiative, so today we’ll be looking at some of the issues associated with it.  The issues discussed herein are not meant to be exhaustive, only an introduction to some of the problems with the initiative.

Section 1 of the Initiative identifies “criminal and public safety background checks” as “an effective and easy mechanism to ensure that guns are not purchased by or transferred to those who are prohibited from possessing them.”  Here’s the problem: the initiative does not include a definition of what a “public safety” background check is, and a quick search of the Revised Code of Washington and Washington Administrative Code provided no statutory definition to be relied upon.  This is especially concerning given the fact that the initiative also allows the Department of Licensing to adopt rules to implement the initiative.  So what is a “public safety” background check?  Will it be defined to include all veterans?  TEA Party activists?  Members of certain religious groups?  Right now it’s impossible to say, but it’s an issue worthy of much concern.

Section 3 of the Initiative requires background checks for “all sales or transfers, including but not limited to sales and transfers through a licensed dealer, at gun shows, online, and between unlicensed persons.”  Let’s be clear: this initiative applies not only to sales but transfers as well, which are defined to include the “delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment, including but not limited to gifts and loans.”  It gets better.  Section 3 allows temporary transfers for hunting purposes, but only if the recipient has “completed all training” which is also undefined.  Once again, the Department of Licensing is given the authority to define a requirement that is not found in statute.

Section 3 also contains the specific provisions on how a sale or transfer is to occur between two unlicensed individuals.  Under the Initiative, the individual selling or transferring must deliver the firearm to a licensed dealer who is required to process the sale as if it were from their own inventory.  This is where the registration will occur.  Licensed dealers are required to document the serial numbers of all firearms they sell and send that information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

This initiative is bad news for freedom loving, liberty minded individuals throughout Washington State and must be defeated.  Start educating your friends and neighbors about the defective and deficient provisions of the proposal and urge them to not sign the petitions required to certify the Initiative.  We must work together to protect our 2nd Amendment rights in order to preserve all of our other rights.  Without firearms, there is no freedom.

Representative David Taylor is a state representative from Washington State, representing the state’s 15th legislative district