Devil in details in state’s dueling gun initiatives

Two gun initiatives will be on the fall ballot, but one of them is far too extreme.


As that rarest of Puget Sound avians, a liberal leaning gun nut, I want to thank Jerry Cornfield for a well written article. It was re-published in the Bellevue Reporter.

He covered the monetary side very well. Almost all of the “gun safety” side money is coming from 10 zip codes in the state. The other side truly is small dollars.

One thing that is consistently missing in most news or commentary coverage of the “dueling gun initiatives” is that the devil is in the details.

I-591 is one page long: It requires adherence to a national background standard. It also requires due process for firearms confiscation in a Katrina type of emergency.

I-594 is 18 pages long, filled with legalese, and is confusing even to one who watched Washington Supreme Court oral arguments in preference to the Seahawks game.

Almost all media coverage misses or misstates two key areas: (1) It ignores the due process issue entirely. (2) I-594 does not deal with sales; it deals with transfers.

For decades I have been training family, friends, and co-workers with handguns and other firearms. Before I take the person shooting we go through extensive safety training, often at my home.

Under an extreme reading by a police force or a prosecutor, every time I had someone take the weapon from me and check its action, I would have committed a gross demeanor unless there were a background check. Conviction on such a charge would likely involve jail time.

I-594 is punitive toward responsible gun owners. Its backers conveniently ignores several factors: (1) Criminals don’t bother with legal sales. (2) Criminal use of a gun purchased at a gun show is almost non-existent. (3) Internet sales of firearms already are legally required to be done through a licensed gun dealer.

Ward Henneberry, Bellevue