More on the I-594 Loss

Caleb has a really good write up on it:

The reason why 594 passing is bad news for gun owners everywhere is because it validates Bloomberg’s strategy. This is a new kind of gun control game, they’re smarter than the Brady Campaign and they have functionally unlimited resources. Yes, they played it smart in Washington. They picked an issue that’s easy to misrepresent in universal background checks; they played that issue to a strong blue voter base, and then they spent a ton of money on marketing and GOTV. That’s textbook “Winning Ballot Questions 101″ and it’s really hard to fight against.

I think Caleb has it right. The reason states with the ballot need to worry is because ballot fights almost always come down to money, and Bloomberg and his other billionaire asshole friends can afford to outspend us in state after state. The amounts involved are big money for us and pocket change for him and his buddies.

It’s mostly the western states that have the ballot. Pennsylvania does not have it, except for Constitutional Amendment, and before that can happen, a measure must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature. I had hoped that we could get the margin narrow enough to Washington to tamp Bloomberg’s ambition in other states, but I don’t think that happened. This will be tried again, it’s only a matter of where.

This is likely why Alan Gottlieb was so eager to get a federal compromise on this issue. I can understand his desire to do that, even if I strong believe that Manchin-Toomey was the completely wrong thing to push. In the long run, the public largely supports the concept of background checks. Overwhelmingly so. We have to figure out a way to deal with that, and unfortunately, something that’s going to involve losing small over losing big.

So what can you do? The biggest issue is to educate gun owners. This is not about background checks. It’s about backdoor universal registration, and extinguishing the gun culture by eliminating the ability to even shoot with a friend and try each other’s firearms. The restrictions on transfer (not just change of title or sale) in the Washington initiative would essentially make it impossible to bring new shooters into the gun culture. Washington gun owners only hope now is that the authorities won’t actively go after marginal cases. But now, as gun owners, you’ll constantly be at the mercy of prosecutors and law enforcement any time you let someone else shoot your guns outside of the very narrowly defined exceptions.

UPDATE: Bloomberg is already working on several more states. Remember, there is no way he won’t be able to outspend us.

Everytown for Gun Safety is gathering signatures for a similar initiative in Nevada, and future campaigns are being planned for Arizona and Maine, according to Feinblatt.

So what do we do other than do our best to educate?

46 thoughts on “More on the I-594 Loss”

  1. Without registration, there is no way to prosecute, unless an LEO actually witnesses the transfer.

    “Did you give that guy your gun?”

    “Nope, it is his (“yeah, it’s mine”) and I haven’t touched it.”

    “Can either of you prove ownership?”

    “How, exactly, would we do that officer? There’s no registration. More importantly, how would *you* prove a transfer took place beyond a reasonable doubt?”

    1. How about burning the idiots in the media and politics?

      (We will need someone willing to take one for the team though.) Arrange a media event at someone’s non-range gun range. Run video of the whole thing. Demonstrate different guns for the clueless. “This is a shotgun.”, etc. Give them (the idiots in the media & politics) the opportunity to handle and shoot the guns.

      Turn the video over to the sheriff and all the media, and demand prosecutions. Burn them with this ridiculous law.

      1. The thing about 594 is that they managed to pass it off as “reasonable” and “moderate” while we know how extreme it is. We know they don’t consider making it a crime to allow someone to handle your gun in your own presence for a short period of time to be reasonable, otherwise they would have been touting that in their ads. Instead we only heard how it is about “sales”, and particularly focusing on “gun show sales”, while they were nice and quiet about what a “transfer” is. However, the way it is probably going to do down is that the police will only end up enforcing the sale part of the law, and widely if not universally overlook the transfer cases. But gun owners have to live with it, and know that they *might* be arrested under the wrong circumstances. You have to be super careful posting pics of your range trip on Facebook because you don’t want to implicate yourself in a crime, etc.

        But what happens when someone calls the cops to report an illegal transfer? Are they now obligated to arrest? Much like with what rd said, this law could be used for revenge, and exposure for what it really does. It’s particularly easy to get back at a gun owning relative who voted yes on i-594. It goes like this:

        2A Advocate: “Hey, cuz, I heard you bought a new Beretta. Can I check it out?”
        “Reasonable” leftist gun owner: “Yeah, it’s awesome. I can’t wait to shoot some trap with it. Here, let me open up the safe.”
        2A Advocate: “Sweet. Yeah, it’s beautiful. I’ve always wanted one of these. Thanks, man. That’s real generous of you. I don’t know what to say.”
        “Reasonable” leftist gun owner: “Ha! Yeah, right.”
        2A Advocate: “No seriously, you just gifted it to me. Otherwise you committed a crime and I’m going to have to call the cops on you.”
        “Reasonable” leftist gun owner: “Nuh uh”
        2A Advocate: “What, you didn’t read that garbage you voted for? You believed the Seattle Times when you read how ‘reasonable’ it is?”
        “Reasonable” leftist gun owner: “Just give me the damn gun back.”
        2A Advocate: “Oh hell no! Then I would be committing a crime too because this wouldn’t be considered a bona fide gift then, and we both just illegally transferred a gun. I’ll be damned if I’m going to do time for you because you thought this bill was so ‘reasonable’. Look, I got about $500 I could give you- but that would be a crime too! The only transfer between relatives exempted from having to go through an FFL is for ‘bona fide gifts’- not sales, not loans, not even ‘hey, check out my new gun’. My hands are tied, bro. It’s either I take this gun home with me, or I call the cops- because I am a law abiding gun owner. Well… unless you want to get gay married.”

    2. You’re right about registration — except that after the law is in force, any new purchase will be de facto registered. If you buy a new 10/22 in Washington in 2015, the serial will be tied to your name and if they find it in the possession of someone else without a background check, there could be trouble.

      They won’t be able to do that with grandpa’s shotgun he bought in 1962 — unless someone bought or sold it through an FFL in the recent past.

          1. I didn’t realize the Fed restriction was based on geography rather than residency of the individuals.

            However, I’m not totally wrong.

            But as far as the ATF/Feds are concerned, if you have a home in two states you are considered a resident of the state you are currently in for gun purposes and can transfer guns as if you were a full time resident in that other state. Hence if both parties were dual residents you could legally do the transfer while in that state and avoid the issues with I-594. Hence since I have a home in Idaho as well as in Washington I could transfer guns to/from my brothers who live in Idaho while in Idaho, but not while in Washington state because they do not have a home in Washington.

            But if John Doe were a resident of both Washington and Idaho we could met in Idaho, do the transfer, then return to Washington without breaking any law (that I know of, I am not a lawyer. Get legitimate legal advice if you plan to push the envelope!

            1. The crime is actually taking a firearm acquired outside your state of residence (except from an FFL, if it’s a long gun), back to your state of residence. So it’s not really a crime until you return home. If you’re a resident of Idaho, and you acquire a firearm in Idaho and take it back to Washington, that’s legal since your legal residence is Idaho. When it comes to dual residency, you can buy firearms in either state, but I’ve never understood how that works, unless you have photo ID from both states. But that is only a loophole if the buyer is a dual resident.

            2. There’s also 18 USC 922(a)(5), which would cover someone going to someone else’s state to transfer a firearm to them. But that only applies to a formal change of title. It allows for loaning and renting of firearms to an out of state person, provided it’s for “temporary use” or “lawful sporting purposes.”

              When I bought a gun for Bitter, I had to take it home with me after she opened it because I bought it in my name, and at the time she was a resident of Virginia. When she became a resident of PA, since it was a long gun, it became an official gift. I later bought her a pistol in Pennsylvania. It is “hers,” in the sense that if we split, I would formally transfer it to her. But she can use it and carry it because loaning a gun is legal between LTC holders in PA. Unfortunately, I don’t think WA’s new law has such an exception, which should convince anyone this was never about background checks.

  2. So, do you expect your state to turn into a more extreme version of New Jersey, Massachusetts or New York? Or maybe something worse than all three combined?

    Looks like they will get a universal gun registration system nationwide. Only state by state. Then they can go for the confiscation. Like the full-blown Civil War where the police break down the doors of gun owners and murder them in cold blood in the hundreds if not thousands that’s going to happen in Connecticut early next year.

    1. I don’t know how Pennsylvania will end up, but it’s certainly a possibility. The Wolf win isn’t a good omen. At least the least it shows the gun issue is less important to Pennsylvanians than Penn State football.

    2. Except CNC machines and 3D printers have gotten cheap enough to make the idea of gun registration obsolete. The only thing that can’t be made at home with current technology is the high end barrels.

      As long as people are making guns, many of them will make machine guns. After all, after the first felony, the rest are free.

  3. For what it’s worth, here in Massachusetts when the people vote to pass a Prop that the legislature doesn’t like, the legislature simply immediately passes a statute that negates the just-passed proposition. Sometimes within days of the Prop passing.

    Seems like it might be useful to elect to state legislatures representatives willing to do the same in defense of gun rights.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  4. Other than educating and reaching out to gun owners and non-gun-owners alike, the only thing I can think of is to push legislative bills and ballot measures to curb or limit political spending from out-of-state sources. If all politics is local, then local money should talk; other revenues should walk.

    It won’t help if you have a few resident billionaires (Bill/Melinda Gates, Nick Hanauer, Steve Ballmer, to name a few resident Washingtonians), but it’ll help de-rail the Bloomberg machine. (And the Monsanto machine, if your state’s also considering labeling GMO foods.)

    I could also see this backfiring, because it would limit what and how much assistance groups like the NRA could provide, but it’s an idea.

  5. With failures in every other arena, this is going to be the path the antis focus on from here on out. That’s because like you said, the American public aren’t opposed to background checks in concept. With Bloomberg bucks, the right spokespeople, and slick marketing, they can push through a “common sense” initiative infested with anti-gun measures and the casual voter will gobble it up because hey, background checks are reasonable.

    They may win in some states, fail in others, but to them it’s all about the long game, and when these laws fail to stop the next heinous act they’ll have the foothold they need to move on to mag limits, gun bans, etc. If you don’t think that’s the case take a look at NY. Mag limits have been incrementally lowered and transfer bans incrementally expanded over the last 20 years with each tragedy.

    In the end though, we all know I-594 isn’t even enforceable, and my prediction is there will not only be a fair amount of civil disobedience but a good amount of LEOs won’t even bother trying to enforce its litany of ridiculous measures. The voters who supported it won’t care though, as they’ll move on to other things. Believe it or not the antis won’t care either, as they know laws like I-594 weren’t crafted to actually prevent crime, but to get their foot in the door for down the road.

    I’m just glad with PA they would need to get it past two consecutive sessions of the legislature. We probably couldn’t get a measure banning puppy catapulting through two sessions.

    1. The law not being enforcible is just more lemons they’ll turn into lemonade.

      Any failing of a gun control law is used as justification for passing the next one.

      1. Meant to respond to your reply in the other post but I’ll do it here. You’re exactly right.

        But we both know these lemons aren’t unintended. They know I-594 isn’t about accomplishing anything but everything about setting the foundation for the next stripping of our rights.

  6. Why don’t we consider an online, truly universal, and privacy preserving background check system:

    Want to buy a gun? Use the universal background check system. Want to check out that babysitter you’re about to hire? Use the universal background check system. Want to hire a cashier? Use the universal background check system.

    Let private people log onto the website and enable a temporary random number to use in the form of a QR code. When they want a background check done on themselves for _any_ reason they give the checker that QR code to scan against NICS. NICS shows the results in the form of driver’s license number, picture, and a pass/delay/fail linked to the temporary ID. Private person can revoke their QR code at any time or it’s revoked in 10 business days automatically. All records regarding the checks that are made are never stored, because what good are they going to do anyone anyway?

    I am prepared to make an open source version of this right now as a proof of concept to make it real for people, but I am not allowed to access NICS data and even if I could, I couldn’t share that access with anyone in any form.

    1. Or, nix NICS and move to the proposed BIDS system (more info here).

      An encrypted list of prohibited persons, kept in the possession of the dealer (or anyone with access) and updated electronically, that provides a simple “match/no-match” for whoever you’re checking on. “No match” means the sale is OK, “match” means the buyer is on the list. Take the government out of the equation for checks entirely, which removes the possibility of building a registry from sales records/reports.

      1. That’s a difficult system to make work. What about dealers who can’t easily contact a master database? What happens when the system breaks and stops getting updates?

        Personally, I think background checks are useless, but our opponents are going to point out the flaws, and they will have a point.

      2. I’ll have to read through the details more closely tonight. The biggest advantage to a non-BIDS approach is that it would exist as an extension to NICS, an existing system: it would be easier sell to everyone.

        1. Having read a lot of this now, it’s >7 years old: what have we learned in the mean time? What has happened with it? There are potentially valuable lessons here.

    2. Because, as the Colburn rebuttal showed, they have ZERO interest in actual background checks. They just want to place hurdles between citizens and the RKBA. It’s a win for them to make it more complicated and bureaucratic. If they really wanted background checks, they would not need firearm identification numbers. The fact that they would rather lose everything instead of than passing Colburn’s version of of BGC bill shows you want they are truly after. Do not take them at face value.

      1. Thanks for this! Looks like the primary objection is relying too heavily on private parties to comply… because we don’t do that already *eye roll* and the lack of a gun registry.

        Another problem for gun control advocates: There would be no lasting record of the sale.

        “When there’s a crime committed, a police agency can go to a manufacturer and ask, ‘Hey, where did this gun go?'” said Mark Kelly, who founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords. The manufacturer can point to a federally licensed dealer, who would have a paper record of the sale, “and then they can help them solve some crimes,” Kelly said.

        This is the kind of material I wanted to noodle on. Thanks again!

      2. Spot on. How much attention did Colburn’s amendment get? They want to pretend like it never happened.

      1. That’s mostly the point. Get more people into the fight for civil and individual rights by really making it their problem. It’s easy to infringe on rights you don’t exercise or otherwise care about.

  7. I think we are eventually going to lose on the background checks issue. The slogans of universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole are just too catchy to the low information voters out there. Given that, why not lose as little as possible and get something big for it. Propose the “Universal Background Check and Second Amendment Protection Act” which would be Colburn’s universal background checks without registration attached to a bill requiring all places under US jurisdiction to recognize all carry permits regardless of residency status. So even if you can’t get a carry permit in CA (or DC) you can just carry on a non resident permit from UT. This would have significant short term benefits, getting to carry everywhere, and long term political pay off by helping to re normalize self defense and carry where the gun culture has been all but extinguished (CA, NJ, NYC, MA etc). It would also force a difficult vote upon the democrats who represent pro gun areas.

    1. I would bet money in Las Vegas that only a tiny percentage of voters actually read, much less understood, the implications of the 18 or so pages of the I-594 proposition. Not with the attention span of gnats.

      That makes them as equally stupid and dare I say, evil, as the moron Democrats who passed the ACA (remember, we would have to pass it to read it). Absolutely irresponsible. They are not “low” information voters, they are “no” information voters who rely on slick marketing and deserve their fate.

      I’d like to create a Trojan Horse proposition some day that buried in the text was permission for the government to execute anyone who voted for it. Weed out the too stupid to live voters.

  8. I’m curious about the picture selection. Is this a picture of a crime in progress in Washington?

      1. Hmm… that’s not my AK, taking a closer look at it. It’s my picture though. It may be a reader’s AK. That was taken at a local club’s practical match.

  9. If we have to eat a turd, then at least we ought to put some ketchup on it.

    Accepting UBCs to me with the help of any sort of pro-gun legislature would look something like allowing CCW/LTCF permit holders to continue business as usual. This would, of course, need to be a “glass break” measure as the Coburn amendment was.

    This has an added benefit for us in that it would nudge more gun owners and potential gun owners into having skin in the game and getting their CCW.

    Do I like living with the fact that a constitutional right is indirectly taxed or inhibited by requiring state permission? Of course not. But we are going to have to live with LTCFs in most states for a while, so why not add to the numbers while we’re living with some sort of permit.

    I also get that I-594 is unacceptable on so many fronts, so it needs to be challenged. I think the “single issue” route is a good defense against it. And then there’s civil disobedience which is what many will fall back to anyway, publicly stated or otherwise.

    1. I think you have to be very careful about the idea of promoting licensing. Expanding or legitimizing licensing is not a goal. Eliminating it should be a goal.

      I am open to a Coburn style deal in the context of a broader easement on gun rights, but it has to be a net gain.

    2. I’d also be OK with exempting CCW holders from the requirement, but not because it would expand the number of people licensed. I’d be OK with it because it punches a hole in a regime that is essentially universal registration. I think registration is actually a greater evil than licensing. Licensing just tells the state I’m a gun owner, but for most people that’s not hard to find out. It’s a much bigger deal for the state to know exactly what I own.

      1. Oh… I did not mention the added benefits that you did since I hope we can all connect the dots there. ;) Another benefit I did not mention is winning the PR war since we “did something” about keeping guns out the hands of felons (at least the ones that continue to care so much about our gun rights) and it had nothing to do with registering guns.

        I have yet to see a path emerge to eliminating licensing. I think if the anti-gunners continue to overreach they will add more burdensome requirements even in “shall issue” states which could threaten their chances of success in the courts.

        And I do agree with you about registration being worse than licensing. In fact it’s actually in the category of “unacceptable”, “must be killed with fire” and “must be destroyed via outright acts of civil disobedience” for me. Very few things make it to that category for me, even in the world of gun rights.

      2. I could never in good conscience support any kind of measure that expands privileges for LTCF/CCW holders as in my mind it further legitimizes the system. Kinda reminds me of when my father complains about new gun control laws that don’t exempt retired cops.

        If anything we should be shifting the privileges of LTCF holders to the general population, for example here in PA the requirement to have one to have a gun in your car if your destination is not the range or home after purchasing it. I’ve lived in open carry states that don’t require a CCW for this kind of transporting and last I remember blood wasn’t running in the streets.

      3. Here in WA, the Concealed Pistol License doesn’t actually tell the state you own anything. It just says you’ve passed the background checks required to get it.

  10. I didn’t follow the news of the I-594 campaign, other than the stories about donations to the yes campaign from billionaires. So I have a question: was much effort spent by the no campaign to emphasize the failure of background checks to solve crime in the states where that policy has been entrenched for decades?

    1. was much effort spent by the no campaign…??”

      No, not so far as I could see.

  11. The problem with I-594 and other ballot initiatives like the minimum wage is that they do not affect 95% of the people who vote for them, directly. The arguments about false positives just don’t affect most people. Gun owners already have a gun. Non-gun owners do not foresee needing one in the near future, or see themselves buying retail anyway. Private transfers are infrequent so people don’t see it affecting them. And people will think (as I have): I’ve sold stuff on Craig’s list. Do I really want a stranger coming to my house to buy a gun? It’s not a terribly bad idea to meet in public, maybe at a police station, yeah?

    The whole “backdoor registration” is not something the average person cares about, given how little we care about tracking cookies that tell Google what porn you watch.

    Even worse, probably I-594 would be upheld under the “strict scrutiny,” so many people think – well if it gets more infringy then we’ll deal with that when we see it.

    We need a new strategy and talking points to defeat these. You can get a lot of people to vote for something that just does not impact them directly. Personally I am not a fan of direct democracy, I think CA with all the convoluted budget propositions is an an example why it does not work.

    The good news, is that after a wave of UBC ballot initiatives, I do not see whats next. It’s a nice squirrel for gun prohibitionists to chase for a while while more serious things happen in the courts, and while we work on national reciprocity.

    1. Ballot measures are a great evil of democracy. At least in the normal legislative process, those voting on a law will read the bill (ok… presumably they read the bill), but I guarantee 99.something% of the people who voted for this did not read it. And democracy allows for criminal code to be passed this way? Not to mention the very abhorrent idea that 51% of the people can lock up the other 49% if they want via ballot initiative.

  12. Anti-gun side already at Olympia proposing more gun law. We need to vote out all the Demo’s and swing the pendulum. If you own an AR, AK or any semi-auto for that matter with a magazine, you best begin thinking of how and where to hide it. These will be demonized if far left can wiggle in.

    I’ve come to understand a good number of people voted no on both which amplified the remaining yes votes, giving the appearance of a big win. The Initiative was truly misleading and misrepresented the multiple intents. Personally I can’t believe doing this is legal. Very few people understood 594 beyond the lead description of the ballot and the spin of the carpet-advertizing campaign. How is it such a lopsided campaign is legal? It all smells wrong.

    For now do all you can to support petitions to overturn 594 and or repeal it.

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