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“We’re still seeking information from the courts, the Attorney General’s office, all the groups out there to tell us what to do. That’s pretty much the way things work around here. It’s always a scramble. We’ll get our opinion and abide by what the law tells us what to do.” – Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger in Gun shows, police looking for answers for new background check law [at]


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  1. It seems like a pretty artful way to dodge responsibility since nobody from the political sector will ever be able to clearly define what to do for the LEOs

  2. “…We’ll get our opinion and abide by what the law tells us what to do.”

    Does the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America not cover this or is there something else you are missing?

    • The standing judicial interpretation of the Second, coming straight from SCOTUS, explicitly allows for background checks. You may disagree, but police are supposed to follow the rules set out for them by the judges.

      • In 1857, in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court ruled that “People of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants — whether or not they were slaves — were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.”

        Text inside the quotes is C&P from wikipedia, but it is the best evidence I’ve come acroos that the so-called Supreme Court is wrong on occasion.

  3. The county south of where I live came out with this in early December.

    Now a public letter has gone out from sheriff-elect Rob Snaza and prosecutor Jonathan Meyer of Lewis County saying they won’t be going out and prosecuting people who inadvertently violate the background check law.

    “We wanted to make sure that the citizens of Lewis County knew that we weren’t looking to make criminals out of ordinary citizens,” Meyer said.

    But the best part of the article is this quote:
    “It sounds to me like his is going to be doing what his legal responsibility is,” said Sandy Brown of the Center for Gun Responsibility. “So we don’t really understand why he’s using such flagrantly and flamboyantly incorrect language about the intention of 594.”

    They still are trying to sell this as a “well written law” to the uneducated.

    • It is a well written law. I have no doubt that Bloomberg’s team of lawyers carefully calculated every word to make as many ambiguous holes as they could for the primary goal of the law: scaring people away from gun ownership.

  4. “We’ll get our opinion and abide by what the law tells us what to do.” – Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger

    Sounds great to me. How about starting with the Supreme Law of the Land — the United States Constitution that you swore on oath to uphold Mr. Metzger?

    Specifically, the Second Amendment to that Supreme Law of the Land states, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed.” The meaning of that statement is as simple as it is clear. Leave the people alone. That statement does not allow for “reasonable” infringements. It allows NO infringements. No go out there, do your job, uphold the law, and leave people who have firearms alone.

    • There’s always someone who believes the Constitution covers their activities. Drugs are a great example. It’s not the job of the police to decide for themselves which laws to enforce, it is that of the courts. But really, if we’re being honest, it should never have gotten to the courts. How bills like this get passed is beyond me.

      • “It’s not the job of the police to decide for themselves which laws to enforce …”

        I agree in cases that are ambiguous. If a state statute mandates that non-profit organizations collect sales tax at bake sales and another state statute excludes non-profit organizations, then it isn’t the job of police to sort that out.

        However, there is no such ambiguity in this case. The United States Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land and it prohibits all government entities from infringing on the right of the People to keep and bear arms. Therefore, any laws that any state passes to the contrary are null and void … as if they never existed. There is no law to enforce.

        If a state passed a law making it illegal to attend Baptist churches, are the police obligated to enforce that law until a case makes its way to the United States Supreme Court and the Court strikes the law down?

        • I not only agree, but must add that everything you said here is absolutely clear, completely impossible to “misinterpret”, anyone who claims to not understand is either a liar or a certifiable moron.

  5. Surprised TTAG is not reporting about the lawsuit the SAF and CalGuns filed in mid/late Dec to attack this new law as “vague” since there are no clear standards and no ability for someone from out of state to accept a transfer while in their own state, even @ an FFL b/c of federal law conflict. SAF’s Gottlieb and his son are also plaintiffs (his kid lives out of state).

    I think they have a good argument to challenge the law and get an injunction

    • “Unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable”–I know I’ve heard that somewhere before… Good on the SAF! I hope they include arguments as to how the law apparently infringes on the right to travel interstate.

      • Their suit does focus on the interstate problem, also. The gist of the argument –

        Washington resident wants to fly to Alaska. Packages firearms legal for air travel. Is the owner guilty of a misdemeanor when she hands it to a TSA agent to be inspected? When it is then passed to the baggage handler, is the handler guilty of a misdemeanor? Is the owner a felon when they pick it up?

        Would a visitor arriving in Washington need a background check prior to picking up their firearm from the baggage handler? Can’t do that with a handgun – only can clear a background check for a handgun in your state of residence. Now what?

        Can an out-of-state friend leave a gun in my gun safe? Is that a transfer?

        I really think the thing was written with the intent to entrap firearms owners. They WANT us to become criminals doing things that people normally do.

        Of course the bad guys will continue to do whatever the heck they want.

    • Dirk,

      Does Black’s Law Dictionary define “transfer”? If so, isn’t that the legal definition of a “transfer” unless Washington’s new law specified otherwise?

      Their law seems clear to me: transfers (as defined in Black’s Law Dictionary or Washington’s law) without a background check is a violation of statute.

      Now the Second Amendment Foundation can challenge the law for violating the Second Amendment.

      • From the text of i594: “Transfer” means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.

        The reason law enforcement claims this is unclear is because (through disbelief or wishful thinking) they want this to not include things like handing your buddy a gun to take a look at or shoot a couple shots. Or, for that matter, leaving a gun on your nightstand while your buddy is over.

  6. This is what happens when you pass Feel Good law. All the politicians claim they have helped fix the problem but nobody knows what is legal and what is not.
    But then that ‘s the point isn’t it, make everyone afraid to even touch a firearm.

    • ” nobody knows what is legal and what is not.”

      At the risk of veering off on a tangent, this is exactly what is wrong with our present “system.”

      None of us should have to spend more than 1 millisecond of our adult lives worrying about what is “legal” and what is not.

      “Legal” is not supposed to tell us what we CAN do…it’s merely to punish clear, egregious violations of what everybody agrees we shouldn’t do. Rape. Rob. Murder. Very little else, really, when you think about it.

      We should default to “legal.” The list of what is “not legal” should be so short that a 5 year old child can memorize it without taxing himself.

      The very fact that we accept debate on this sort of thing defines just how far from “liberty” we’ve slid.

  7. I’m wondering if we are about to see a Colorado-style flop here. As I understand it, those “banned high-capacity magazines” are still pretty freely available there-and also right across the state line, with no way to determine whether a mag is “pre-ban” or not.

    • Hell, here in Durango, Colorado, there are a number of mom-and-pop gun stores that freely sell brand new 30 round AR mags, and local law enforcement has no problem with it, despite what the (asinine) law says.

    • Magpul actually marks all of their products with a “born on” date. It’s a small circle 1-12 and the year of production next to it. Good thing is, very easy to scratch polymer during normal use. And to your prior remark, they are a little more inconvenient, but still easily available.

  8. There is a growing group opposing I-594, they have protested in Spokane and Seattle. My focus is on sheriffs, for opposition, Not police chiefs who only answer to the people who appoint them.. there were a few Sheriffs who were out spoken over I-594, But now that it passed, I’m wondering where their voice is now?

  9. Well, I for one hope that the Pasco Police Dept maintains this stance of “this law is not comprehensible, so we won’t enforce it”, since my range is adjacent to theirs, and commonly used by them as well. I like to be able to take my buddies shooting. In all seriousness, I’m sure that the 594 travesty will end up being used as an additional charge to lay down upon people already being accused of something, until it is overturned in court by someone who is brave enough (and lucky enough) to break the terribly written piece of garbage in such a way that they actually get charged with it while still maintaining a sympathetic enough case that they can win in the court of public opinion.

  10. I had a quick chat with a gun store manager in WA. He basically said that neither the police, the state bureaucracy, nor the gun stores have any idea how to follow and enforce the law. The law is that poorly written.

    If the gun store calls up the state govt, they say to call the police. When you call the police they say to ask the gun stores.

    It will require revision for the law to serve any purpose besides legal entrapment of innocent people.

  11. In this particular case, the Washington State constitution provides stronger protections to state residents than the US Constitution.

    of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or
    the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section
    shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations
    to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

    The need to get a background check for the most innocuous of transfers is indeed an impairment overall, but the real question is the extent to which the courts may rule that it prevents a normal person from bearing arms. The best challenge to I594 is probably the tangent that SAF is taking – that it’s so vague as to be unenforceable, and that selective enforcement is contrary to equal protection under the law.

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