There are lots of “gun law initiatives” in every state going on…some may be helpful, others may be dangerous for gun owners as well as others. Here is a great example out of the state of Washington where there is an initiative, I-594, that is being backed by some well-known people with some deep pockets. The issue isn’t the “intent” of the initiative…the issue is how it could be executed.
A colleague of mine, Dennis Brislawn, shared this with me and I wanted to share it with you as well. Dennis is a gun law attorney in Washington and got this story from one of his clients. It was a great description of what can happen when people don’t really understand what is going on in an initiative and yet could have significant impact on them…after it has passed. This one focuses on the transfer of firearms that most people take for granted. It could be made to be very complicated and thus make it difficult for the average gun owner to understand and comply with. Here is the story…
“I gave a talk to my mom’s Red Hat group when they were wrapping up a meeting at her house. The subject of I-594 came up a little before I stopped by, so my mom asked me my opinion because she knows I’m politically active in regards to firearms. I went to the garage and grabbed a block of wood.
Started out talking about the proposed law as written, they all had copies of it. Then I asked them to pass the block of wood clockwise to each other until it got back to me. I then passed it back counterclockwise. I asked a simple question, “Would you define what we just did, passing that block of wood around, as a series of temporary transfers?” After a little discussion, yes was the answer.
We then went to page 6, item 25. One lady said, “So what?”
I said, “If that block of wood was a firearm, unloaded and safe, we all would have been guilty of a gross misdemeanor if I-594 was in effect. You would all have effectively been made criminals by the passage of this initiative. Had you been convicted of that, and then made another transfer, you would have been guilty of a felony. That was what the second round was for. How does criminalizing a simple act transacted today between law abiding citizens protect anybody?” I got a few blank stares, but a few caught on…”
As you can see from this simple illustration, something very simple can be made so complex that the average (and innocent) gun owner can be charged with a felony. And remember, just because this is in Washington, it is all about precedence and could soon be showing up in a “state near you” as they say. Is that right? Is that fair? You be the judge as a gun owner or someone who knows people who own guns. Who are they really protecting? Who benefits from a law like this? Lots of questions…not many answers. What do you think? Share your comments…would love to hear your thoughts.