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By Michael H.

Being a current resident of Washington I can tell you how devastating this law will be. Basically, the law makes handing another person your firearm illegal, except in specific circumstances. Because the law is under affirmative defense, if the prosecutor claims you have broken the law, it is up to the defendant to prove their innocence, not the prosecutor to prove guilt. All the prosecutor has to prove is that you handed someone else your gun, which is quite easy to do even if you did it legally. Then you have to pay for the legal fees and everything else incurred during a trial . . .

Secondly, the law does not allow for adult friends to go shooting together unless the firearm is kept on the range at all times, a draconian rule that reminds me of certain European countries. That would be an illegal transfer.

Third, the law distinguishes between adult children and children under 18. A father handing a gun to a minor child under his direct supervision is legal. But a parent wishing to take his 18+ year-old son shooting would not be able to share a gun under the law. The “child” you are going shooting with doesn’t even have to be yours. But the drafters still overlooked a major situation. You can go shooting with a spouse but not with an adult child. Seriously?

Fourth, the law does not allow for ignorance of the legal situation of the person you are shooting with. You could be convicted simply for not doing a background check on your lifelong friend that you would never have suspected of being a convicted criminal.

Lastly, in Washington state we have the privilege of being allowed to shoot on public land if it is a certain distance away from cities or roads. There are quite a few popular public shooting pits where you can blast away at soda cans, an old hard drive, or whatever else your local range won’t allow. These are also great because many ranges don’t let people shoot quickly when practicing for 3-gun and other competitions. However, I-594 doesn’t even acknowledge these in its exceptions, so the law has effectively banned friends from going shooting together on public land without amending the old law.

I’m no lawyer, but I know how to read. These are horrendous flaws in the final text of the law and I really hope they are challenged in court. Even if many of our pro-gun police and sheriffs won’t enforce 594, it still disturbs me that this passed muster with the voting public.

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    • This stinking pile of **** seems to try and trump property law in that it does not allow for joint ownership or joint possession. This is a community property state. I don’t see how it can do that.

    • I don’t think it is fair to criticize people for being “stupid and believing anything”.

      They were deliberately exploited and duped. This is an example of a well funded, planned exploitation of the public, with the seemingly willful participation of much of the media within the state.

      This is a Confidence Trick that exploits compassion and desire of regular people to stop criminals, and mistaking the “good faith” intentions of the con artist.

      • Typical East Coast liberal…no common sense, and no accountability. I can smell democrat lies 6 months away. 594 didn’t fool me for an instant…much like our “alleged” president.

      • They were not “deliberately exploited and duped”. The information was there for them to read, they just didn’t bother! So, since they should know better, because they are adults, then they fall ionto the catagory of F%@# MORONS!

  1. Wait, so under this law, my bedside backup gun would land me in prison, if my sister came to visit and I let her know where the gun was in case of trouble, and I left her there alone for a few minutes so I could go pick up some take out? Am I reading this right?

    Thank God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, and Cthulhu I live in Texas.

      • Hey, if you feel the urge to worship something, may as well worship the one who’s straightforward about being evil. Honesty is a good policy for deities.

        • Bumper sticker I’ve seen here :

          “Cthulhu for President – Why vote for the lesser of two evils?”

    • And with Constructive Possession, if she is aware of and can establish dominion over said gun, then she possesses it, and you’ve transferred it to her as soon as she entered your house.

      It would take a real POS DA to press charges on that. It’ll never happen, but the law is REALLY that bad as far as what it ACTUALLY SAYS.

      I don’t even care about the background checks part at the point. It’s the draconian redefinition of “Transfer” that will make every gun owner in the state a criminal.

      It will be defeated in the court, the bill will probably be declared unconstitutional on the multiple-topic issue. It covers changes to tax code and requires private sellers to collect Use Tax on firearms transfers (note that the business that facilitates the transfer is not obligated to collect the taxes).

      • “It would take a real POS DA to press charges on that. It’ll never happen, but the law is REALLY that bad as far as what it ACTUALLY SAYS.”

        Anything could happen.

  2. Maybe someone who IS a lawyer in Wash. State should look at this. Where I come from, if this description is accurate the law would likely be tossed as either vague and unenforceable or improperly shifting the burden of proof to the defendant or both.

    • It isn’t vague; it’s very clear. The law defines a transfer as any time one person is in possession of another person’s firearm, which includes just picking it up (or possibly just the technical fact that they have access to it as the write-up states, and I do concur since the language is similar to NFA law and access/possession could mean I leave the house and the wife has the combo to my safe and therefore the silencer is in her possession without me present = felony). The law says all transfers are illegal without first doing a background check and transfer of ownership, except for 7 very specific and narrow exceptions. If you read the 7 exceptions, then you know the full extent of what transfers are legal. Ergo, all other transfers are illegal unless a background check is done as per the exact, clear text of the bill.

      You really don’t have to be a lawyer, as the bill is not very long and the language is quite clear, from the statement of intent to the definition of transfer to the 7 exemptions. If it matters, though, I had my wife, who is a lawyer, read the bill and she concurred with my understanding of it.

      • Well, you’ve already pointed out one pretty material vagueness, in the definition of “transfer”. Other than that, tho, your description doesn’t seem to be complicated at all. Be interesting to see just how many people are prosecuted under this law after a couple of years.

        • Sorry, I don’t think that’s a vagueness in the law itself but a possible point where a DA could try to prove “intent” that isn’t there (i.e. by leaving somebody unsupervised in my home who could access the guns if they wanted to, I “intended delivery” of the firearm to them. I’d have to prove otherwise). The definition in the law itself is pretty clear:

          ” “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.”

          There is no minimum time period you must hit for a “loan” to have happened. That’s a temporary transfer. You visit my home and I hand you one of my firearms so you can look at it? Transfer. Gross misdemeanor. You hand it back? Transfer. This time it’s a felony. The stated exceptions make it clear that temporary transfers are only legal in a couple of specific circumstances, such as while at an established & recognized shooting range and the gun is kept at that range at all times or if the temporary transfer is necessary to prevent death or grave bodily harm (e.g. home invasion) and the person you’re temporarily transferring it to is not prohibited from firearm possession and you take the firearm back into your possession immediately upon the threat ceasing or just reducing in severity from imminent grave bodily harm to anything lower than that.

          The text of the law is here: You should give it a read.

        • I agree with Jeremy S.

          Read the exception for imminent danger, and it becomes clear that when they say transfer they are not talking about sales, despite the lies a $10M ad campaign shoved down the voters’ throats.

        • @Jeremy S –

          Why not transfer all your guns into your NFA trust and make your wife and yourself (And anyone else you want…) as the trustees?

        • Last weekend I loaned my Tavor to a family friend so he could try it out. He owns a rifle of his own plus a few handguns. He’s mid-60’s and a physician. He also has a Concealed Pistol License, which means he’s been thoroughly background checked including fingerprinted and run through state and federal systems, etc. By loaned I mean he came by my house Friday evening to pick it up and I walked him through the controls on it and such, and he brought it back Saturday evening. Obviously this would become felonious activity once I-594 takes effect.

          Anyway, there’s no way I’m going to add him to my NFA trust just for something like this. There’s no freaking way I’m adding people to my NFA trust because I’m going to let them hold a firearm in my house just so they can see it and then hand it back to me or let somebody shoot one of my guns while we’re out in the woods together or at a shooting range, etc. Do you know how many people have shot guns of mine or guns I’m T&E’ing at the range here in town? When I’m testing something out, I try to get some other people on it to hear what they think. Range employees for sure and sometimes folks who are there shooting guns of their own. Am I adding these sorts of people to my trust? Hell no. And yes, in all of these cases the described activity will be illegal under 594.

          Keep in mind that adding someone to your trust has to be notarized, I do believe. It doesn’t require a lawyer, but it does require a notary. At least that’s my understanding of it. So it’s not like it’s simple. It involves real paperwork. ADDITIONALLY… there is liability involved. Trustees share some liability of the trust (this is also just per my own understanding of it, and it may have to do with revocable vs irrevocable, not sure) — I.E. if somebody on the trust does something stupid with a trust-owned firearm, other trustees may share some degree of liability.

    • Many people who are lawyers have analyzed it. It’s main republican supporter, the King county prosecutor, has said it’s Byzantine, unenforceable, and a complete waste of resources. Yes, that’s one of the guys who supported it.
      Lawyers for SAF, CCRKBA, the NRA, etc. have all come to the same conclusions.
      The only lawyers who don’t say that about it are the ones paid to write and support it. And they either dodge the question, or claim that no one will abuse the power.

      So it’s as bad as he makes it sound. The only logical conclusion I can come up with is the authors want to scare most of us away from gun ownership, and trap some of those who remain in a legal labyrinth.

      • I haven’t seen or heard any of this, not doubting you but could you tell me where to find this kind of info so I can post it to ” I will not comply” page. I’ll be there,and I will not comply.

      • “logical conclusion”

        Spot on. I wish I could somehow bring the following truth to the sky and rain it down on everyone:

        The anti-gun movement is responsible for creating and promoting fear, frightening the public, and demonizing firearms. These people are causing violent firearm misuse and I bet they know it.

        Fear elicits emotional reactions. Emotional reactions lead to irrational actions. Therein the generated fear produced is responsible for violence, not safety. Mentally ill paranoid persons who act out, act out from fear. All we have to do is observe the history of mass killings and the picture comes into focus.

        Fear in an individual is often not good (related to this subject), it doesn’t get better when you have a large population reacting to fear.

  3. If you ‘live’ in a blue state you could be part of the problem.
    If you have a (D) after your name, are liberal, or a rino, the problem is part of you.

    Disarm yourselves for the next Civil War and war with China all you would care to b_tches. I’m certain your enemies are grateful. When they come for you, those you attempted to disarm may take pause in taking up your defense. The first law of nature is, the dumb must suffer. The second law is, suffer in silence.

    • If you ‘live’ in a blue state you could be part of the problem.

      Or we could just want to live in an amazingly beautiful state with some of the best hunting and sport shooting opportunities, one of the strongest economies, some of the lowest taxes, and one of the best tech sectors on the planet.

      • A Blue state with low taxes!?!??! WHAT? I call BS!

        In all seriousness being in a Red state, I agree with you, I would never leave if it somehow started to turn blue. I would stay and fight instead of fleeing. Cant hold your ground unless your willing to fight for it. Domino theory is real. If those in purple states and blue states don’t keep up the fight then more states will fall. Look at NY- NY of all places the state senate flipped red. That’s a feat, weather the GOP can reverse gun laws or not, its still nothing short of amazing in that communist dump.

        • Washington has zero income tax.
          The tax system here is the most regressive in the country, with the lower class paying a relatively higher amount than they would in any other state. Conversely, the middle and upper class pay a lower rate than they would in other states.
          I wish all the lower class people would understand how disadvantageous that is and move somewhere more egalitarian, like California.

      • Ha ha ha!!!!! I am still laughing. Do tell, to which blue state are you referring? (Note: I won’t hold my breath waiting for a match.)

    • One word: Vermont.

      The Democrats have some good ideas, but the party has been hijacked by rabid statists. However, there are still pockets of old-fashioned good sense.

      The Republicans have been hijacked by the Religious Wrong and Randesque anarchists. However, there are still pockets of old-fashioned good sense.

      I miss Ike. Hell, I even miss Harry…

      • EDIT and a humble apology: I meant (and should’ve said) that the Republicans have some good ideas, but…

        They do. I know that y’all know that; just wanted to make sure that you knew that I know.

  4. Nice rundown.
    Bet none of the people that voted for it even cared what it said. Just made them feel good to vote for something opposed by law enforcement.

    • Absolutely true. 10% of people voting for I 594 also voted for I 591. This law only passed because of public misinformation (or stupidity, call it what you will) and I wish the NRA would have stepped in earlier to break the lies spread on the pro-594 signs that littered our streets for weeks before the election.

    • I know of at least 2 people who voted full well knowing the language on temporary transfers in the law. Public safety is more important, they said!

      • But, but, but… this will make every gang banger and drug pusher go through the proper channels before a transfer.

        As if that was ever the intended goal.

        • “Gosh darn it! I just failed a background check on this firearms transfer. I guess I better give up my life of crime.”


    • Not as far as they knew.
      The 594 campaign saturated the various media outlets with $10M worth of claims that 594 had law enforcement support.
      $2M advertising the WACOPS support for 591 and opposition to 594 probably would have swung the votes the other way.

      • And where was the NRA? OH, they busy raising funds for teach your dog to shoot safely or something like “how should we design our next scare tactic to raise more funds.

  5. Well, there is one way to game this lovely new piece of ****, until it gets struck down(hopefully). Set up a revocable trust, add your firearms to it, then make your friends trustees. Have all your shooting buddies do it as well, then flaunt the “illegal” transfers whenever possible.

  6. If this does not get shredded in the courts, we need to go for federal preemption laws. This sort of crap will spread like a cancer.

    • Wait Bob. When your son goes to give you back the gun, then you have to undergo a BGC too.
      Then next trip out, same thing.
      Oh, and gun stores will likely charge for this service.

    • And if your son is in the range [18, 21)*, it is impossible to let him use a handgun, because he’s too old to qualify for an exemption, but too young to legally transfer it to him.

      * For the non math geeks, the square bracket means inclusive, while the parentheses means exclusive.

  7. The same morons who voted for this law also believed that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep their health insurance.

  8. Some friends and I at our local club recently put together our own little “Top Shot” competition on the club ranges. Because not everyone owned a gun appropriate for every competition that was devised, we used each others guns. We had a great time and not a one of us murdered anybody. This law seems to be aimed more at destroying the shooting community than protecting anyone.

    • When you all get done trying to understand the Bill Gates and Cons group, at the end this spells out the path to a complete registration and confiscation scheme, Nothing more and nothing less.

  9. If you and some friends go hunting and you bag your animal day one, then your friend wants to use your rifle because his broke, oops.
    You just committed a crime.
    This law is seriously Effed up!

  10. Oh, they will enforce the law. That’s what they do. Blindly do whatever the politicians tell them to do. Remember Nuremberg.

  11. I will not support or fight for a corrupt so called gov’t that continues to usurp my Constitutional Rights, weather State or Fed level and hinders mine or like minded folk.

  12. I emailed my state legislators specifically regarding the problematic language on temporary transfers. I thought it would be something even deep blue Seattle legislators would find problematic. Only got one response, I think you guys will love it:

    Dear Sean,

    Thank you for your email. Initiatives always include some language that needs to be amended, as they do not go through the same vetting process that legislation does. We can amend an initiative with a two thirds vote in the first two years after it passes, or with a majority vote after two years. I suggest that you talk with legislators who might be interested in sponsoring language to fix the problems you see in the initiative.

    From my perspective, the public safety benefits of requiring all gun sales and transfers to include a background check far outweigh concerns about temporary transfers. Currently, a felon or seriously mentally ill person who fails a background check at a gun dealer’s shop can just go on line or to a gun show and buy a gun. Is that good public policy? Most responsible gun owners I have talked to strongly support the need for universal background checks.

    I appreciate hearing from you.

    • What in the hell are you even thinking? If you were a felon , you don’t run the risk of being seen at a gun show.That is illegal also. felons go to Jose on the corner of south puke st. and gov’t park way and will purchase a gun in less than 5 minutes. Better , they can buy direct from BATFE at the boarder,Guns are offered in the Welcome Wagon as you enter too.
      Someone with your way of thinking will not save one life But cause many deaths. The felons are still cheering this law,it makes their job much easier.

    • Actually, No.
      The legislature rejected the background check bill in 2013. This was a voter initiative, bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, and Nick “we need more school shootings” Hanauer.

      They ran a slick $10M advertising campaign, and wrote a blurb for the ballot that said 594 would only require background checks for online and gunshow sales.

  13. I recall that in Colorado they fixed some technical issues with the law they had passed there by working with the Attorney General of the State. Would that be a possible route in WA?

    • It requires a 2/3 majority for the legislature to amend an initiative in the first two years.
      After that, they can alter it, just like any existing law.
      We could also have an initiative that revokes the existing one. If we could do it in 2015, that would be great, because then only gun-issue voters would go to the polls.

      • Is anyone planning to ask the State Attorney General for his opinion on what types of short-term transfers are violations under the new law?

        • Would it not be good PR to have him say this out loud? Otherwise, many will keep saying that all the whining about short-term transfers is just paranoia.

        • Ask him, the traitor in charge? It was his job to read and stop this misleading (lying) initiative. It is illegal in it’s self. It should have been declared fraudulent and never allowed.

  14. Anyone know how this law would impact people using a service involving a firearm?

    For example, say the firearm was taken to a gunsmith for work or a custom foam insert was contracted to be built for a firearm where they needed the firearm temporarily for the construction?

    Would that be considered a transfer?

    • Wow, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen on TTAG in a while.
      How exactly did legalizing marijuana enable this?

      Intelligent people understand that it had to do with the $10M campaign of lies that told the public the law would impose background checks on gun sales, did not mention temporary transfers at all, and paraded crying crime victims with the tagline: “reduce crime, save lives”.

  15. This type of deceptively crafted gun control legislation serves only one purpose which is to transform as many law abiding citizens who dare to exercise their 2nd amendment rights into criminals and deter lawful possession of firearms by making it as risky and troublesome as possible. Such anti-gun measures have zero deterrent effect on criminal predators who use firearms as tools of their trade.

    • Ted,

      This new law in Washington is a perfect demonstration of “fiat” law … and why we have to push the “no victim, no crime” mantra front and center. How can a person be a “criminal” (for handing a firearm to a friend to inspect) when there is no victim?

  16. It amazes me that Washington passed this. It’s generally a pro-gun place.

    The language wasn’t even deceptive, unlike some legislation in which the wording can muddle a mind into believing that yes in no.

    I can only conclude that peeps just didn’t read it.

    Ugh! Yuck! Bleah!

    • EDIT: I just noticed in the flow chart that even if someone is in immediate mortal peril, you may not hand them a gun if they’re prohibited from possession of same.

      Even Калифорнистан recognizes the right of a felon to defend life and limbif a gun is available, so long as they drop it the moment the danger is past.

      I promise to not make a million additional comments, but Crikey!

    • Few people saw the text of the measure. This is what the ballot said:
      Initiative Measure No. 594 concerns background checks for firearm sales and transfers.

      This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.

      Should this measure be enacted into law?

      I don’t see anything in there about requiring a background check to hand you my gun so you take a look.

      • Yep. You have to read deep into the legalese of the initiative itself to find out what it really does. The voter’s pamphlet summary was designed to make sure that the low-info types who are just along for the ride saw only the pretty, sparkling tip of a very ugly iceberg. I-594 was designed to do one thing: hit this state’s gun culture below the water line and sink it like the Titanic.

  17. Sounds like “Reasonable and Sensible”, ” Gun Sense”, ” Common Sense”, piece of badly needed legislation to me. Enjoy the “Hope and Change”.

  18. Three choice.
    1. Break the law willingly or not and pay the consequences.
    2. Comply with the law, consider selling all your guns to be sure you won’t break it.
    3. Move to another state. Avoid a few known for their draconian gun laws.

  19. This law passed because a Native American 9th grader went to his school and killed his cousins and ex-girlfriend about 2 weeks before the election. It basically met the “Let’s do something about these horrible events” mania that infects the politically shallow(everyone who lives in Seattle). The fact is that the law would not have prevented that shooting, but that’s not the point. The point is the warm fuzzies one gets from voting that way

  20. On a personal level, how does this affect my next trip to English Pit in Vancouver since they store their rental guns offsite until the day of use? Since it’s the cheapest place to shoot in the Portland area I’d hate to see it screwed over. FWIW I live in Oregon which has yet to succumb to such silliness, although we just voted to legalize ganja so who knows?

  21. “…. we will not comply. ”

    Never mind the fact that how I sell my private chattel property is
    simply not someones business….this is illegal restraint of a
    Constitutional Right. This is no different them asking me to
    go by the police station for permission before going to Sunday
    School. Yes, I know it is easier to just obey…”they” are counting
    on that after all…that you will just grovel…

    Fortunately I live in Oregon but I have no illusions
    that my state is next.

  22. Thanks for bringing up the fact that exemptions are the affirmative defense. I haven’t actually realized that this is the case, but it makes it that much more damning.

  23. This makes California’s law look reasonable in comparison. Heck, in People v. King it was clarified that the law prohibiting handgun possession by felons did not prohibit them from possessing it in the case of self defense.

    And the new storage law, makes an exception explicit in the penal code if the child/felon gains access in the case of self defense

    I wonder if the years of litigation has caused them to avoid the most ridiculous version of these laws. You would think that anti-gunners would be careful to avoid making laws so badly written as to be struck down without even having to appeal to 2nd amendment challenges

  24. Never thought I’d say this in the context of firearms, but I’m real glad I live in Illinois.

    …hummmmmmmmm…. bzzt… beep. beep. beep…

    Whew. Sorry for that defibrillation moment there. I’m back.

    There is one big takeaway for all of us regarding this. The Anti’s are conceding the national battle. For the moment.

    It’s a ground war in the local states now. This is where they can bring their billionaire bankrolls to bear in a way that is much harder for us to fight. We need to move more preemptively. We may have an advantage with state houses and governor’s mansions, but this was a ballot initiative. We need to start educating John Q. Public. Most of them are ready to be on our side (CA, NJ and CT notwithstanding), but are can be easily fooled with slick, big money advertising. We can win this, but it’s going to be one mind at a time.

  25. You know I hate to admit it but I didnt give this a second thought before hand. I was more focused on local issues in my state. This is a miserable law that I hope makes people miserable enough to get it repealed. Good luck to all of you in WA. I’d likly move to another more conservative state ASAP. I know thats easier said than done.

  26. Don’t look at me, Walla Walla County and I said GTFO to 594. Damn Spokane County and it’s neighbors went with the West side on this and might have screwed us over. …and they had such a good Army surplus store next to Zany’s…west-side poseur &%@*#ers

  27. The reason behind passing the law, to reduce gun violence, falls apart once you look at ONE THING…Who will actually listen to the new legislation.

    Reduce gun violence? Ok. Who commits the most gun violence? Criminals.
    Who commits a small fraction of gun violence in WA? Up-to the point of a crime (or DGU) law abiding citizens.

    Who follows laws? Law abiding citizens.
    Who doesn’t follow laws? Criminals.

    Who’s a threat? Criminals.
    Who’s not (Most of the time)? Law abiding citizens.

    Lets pass more laws which criminals will ignore because duh they’re criminals and not actually solve anything. Guess what will happen with 99% of your background checks that actually come in? Nothing, because the only people abiding by the law haven’t done anything wrong in the first place.

    I wonder who this was actually designed to hurt, the innocent citizens or the criminals?…

    Hard to tell huh?

  28. Yet another meaningless law based on emotion rather then rational thought. This law passed only because of three western counties that has a large liberal population base, the rest of the state did not vote for this. Most of rank and file law enforcement officers think this law is stupid and unconstitutional and won’t enforce it. Simple solution for transfers, if you live close to the state line of oregon or idaho just meet the seller or buyer accross the state line, do the transaction and return to Washington. NO CRIME, as the transfer did not occur in the state of Washington, Problem solved!

  29. This law is great, but does not go far enough,1. you want to have a Gun? for starts you go before a citizen review board, and explain why you need that gun ( being terrified everyone is out to get you,especially if they aren’t white isn’t a valid reason, as for most gun nuts racism is the case)2. have a license to show you can safely operate said gun, and an NRA course does not count.3. register said gun, and agree to unannounced inspections to prove gun is stored properly, and safely, have children in th home? no gun” 4. carry liability insurance on said gun.


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