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The Seattle Times: Semantics triggers opposition to I-594’s gun-sale checks

September 21, 2014

The Seattle Times reports:

Political opponents always look for an edge.

Those who oppose Initiative 594, the proposal to extend background checks to private gun sales, insist they’ve found that edge in the way the measure defines a gun “transfer.” They say the initiative’s wording would effectively criminalize almost anyone who hands anyone else a gun — including students in a gun-safety class or a father and son out on a hunting trip.

. . .

Supporters of I-594 reject that interpretation and say similar arguments are used around the country to scuttle proposed gun regulations.

“Going down the transfer road,” said Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe, “you can always invent some scenario that makes people scared.”

Read the whole article here.

The Spokesman-Review: Study: Criminals easily skirt law buying guns online

September 19, 2014

The Spokesman-Review reports:

This spring, a man in King County posted an ad on an online gun market, seeking a 9mm handgun.

“Cash in hand for the right deal,” he wrote.

Around the same time, a man in Tacoma posted an ad saying he was “always looking for guns.” A Vancouver man posted an ad seeking to buy pistols. A Longview man posted an ad seeking a lower receiver for an assault rifle.

Each of the men was legally prohibited from owning firearms due to criminal convictions – burglary, robbery, rape, assault on a police officer. None could pass a background check with a licensed dealer, but online sales, like gun show sales, are a complete black market. No questions asked.

. . .

Background checks are not some perfect solution. Of course. But the report reinforces two indisputable facts: Criminals do, in fact, try to buy guns from registered dealers, and FBI background checks block the sales. And criminals do, in fact, try to buy guns through the side channels where background checks are not required.

Read the full story here.


Seattle P-I: Charge: Washington robber turned to Facebook to deal guns

September 18, 2014

The Seattle P-I reports:

A convicted felon in real life, Olympia resident Michael Joanen was buying and selling guns on Facebook with little trouble, federal prosecutors contend.

. . .

Had Joanen tried to buy a gun through a licensed dealer, he would have been turned away if his criminal history had been discovered during a background check. Likewise, he, as a convicted felon, couldn’t have secured a federal firearms dealer’s license.

Online, though, Joanen was able to deal in guns for months before federal investigators caught wind, prosecutors now claim.

Read the whole article here.

Seattle P-I: Group cites police killings in support of I-594

September 15, 2014

The Seattle P-I reports:

A group pushing an initiative that would require background checks for private gun sales in Washington state released a study Friday finding that many of the police deaths here since 1980 have come at the hands of people legally prohibited from having firearms.

Under federal law, background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, are required for purchasing firearms from licensed gun dealers, but not at gun shows or for private transactions. I-594 would require that such sales or other transfers be conducted at a licensed dealer, with background checks being conducted as if the licensed dealer were selling the weapon.

The measure includes exceptions for emergency gun transfers concerning personal safety, gifts between family members, antiques and loans for hunting.

“For too long, prohibited purchasers — whether they be felons, domestic abusers or the seriously mentally ill — have been able to evade the background-check process by purchasing a gun either at a gun show or online from a private seller,” Don Pierce, a former Bellingham police chief, told reporters on a conference call. “This is a dangerous loophole in our law that puts all of us at risk, including law enforcement officers.”

Read the whole article here.

The Seattle Times: Democrat lawmakers send letter to NRA over lobbyist’s remarks

September 9, 2014

The Seattle Times reports:

We wrote in late July about comments made by a National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist who compared the proposed background checks initiative to the beginning of Nazi oppression of Jews before World War II.

Neither the lobbyist, Brian Judy, nor the NRA have commented on that episode.

Now, four Democrat legislators have sent a letter to the NRA demanding that the organization dissociate itself from the remarks.

“We are dismayed that both Mr. Judy and the National Rifle Association have chosen to remain silent for four weeks on this subject,” reads the letter, dated Sept. 2. “These views, left unaddressed, have the potential to jeopardize the effectiveness of your representatives in working with many legislators and staff in Olympia.”

The letter is signed by Sen. Jamie Pedersen of Seattle, Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw of Seattle. Read a copy of the letter here.

Read the whole article here.

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Top five contributors: Nicolas Hanauer, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, William Gates III, Melinda Gates, Paul Allen