An upcoming ballot measure pushed by gun control groups and bankrolled by billionaires could turn gun owners and shooters into criminals in unexpected ways.

The ballot initiative, I-594, an 18-page compilation of changes to Washington State’s firearms laws, could have widespread effects on every firearms transfer and even lead to possible future confiscation according to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Initiative 594 is a universal handgun registration scheme being promoted by a very wealthy group of anti-gun elitists who have already raised more than $7 million to qualify and pass this initiative,” reads a recent NRA analysis of the proposed measure.

Explaining further, the gun rights group advises, “Although they describe it as a ‘universal background check’ measure, it is not universal because criminals will never comply with the requirements. It is, however, universal handgun registration.”

Introduced in 2013 and backed by the little-known Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the ballot measure was already shot down by the state legislature in January, which has led to its second chance at passage this November at the hands of voters.

The text of the document, contends the NRA, is deeply flawed. The pro-gun group of some 5 million members asserts that should I-594 make it into law, every person involved in a handgun “transfer” will have their name entered into a government database maintained by the state. A transfer, as covered by the initiative, would include everything from sales to simply loaning a gun to another shooter at the range.

In short, as explained by Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel, “If you borrow your grandfather’s handgun for the weekend, you’ll be required to be listed in the database.”

Further, handgun sales, even for private transfers, would be subject to a 10-day waiting period whereas current laws in the Evergreen State only call for a five-day period. Even gun control-heavy California, who has seen its 10-day hold challenged successfully in federal court, makes allowances for the loaning of guns, which Washington’s initiative does not.

“The only thing that I-594 would accomplish is the creation of a government record of all lawfully transferred handguns in Washington, which would facilitate their future confiscation,” states the NRA.

A look at the money behind the confusing ballot initiative shows that gun control groups and billionaires make up the vast majority of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s supporters.

According to their website, the top five contributors to the group are venture capitalist Nicolas Hanauer, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, and Microsoft alumni William Gates III, Melinda Gates, and Paul Allen. As covered by CNN Money, Gates and his wife chipped in more than $1 million of their personal fortune to the effort, a figure that was matched by Hanauer. This money has already gone towards a series of ads decrying the state’s current laws as having dangerous loopholes.

Once you get away from the handful of big name donors, endorsements for I-594 are sparse with WAGR listing a score of businesses and organizations including a coffee shop and other regional gun control groups.

Opposing I-594 are law enforcement associations including the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) and the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) who publicly stated that they “do not believe that this will keep guns out of the hands of criminals or the mentally ill.” The group also stated that a potential firearms registry associated with the measure would be an infringement of the privacy rights of gun owners.

In addition to the NRA, gun rights groups including the Second Amendment Foundation, Washington Arms Collectors, Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club, and the Firearms Policy Coalition have all advised for “no” votes on I-594.

The Washington State general election is scheduled for November 4.

Image copyright Getty Images/janniswerner

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  • ec

    washington…kalifornika…same-o same-0 anti-gunners will say they are not coming after guns…even though the law says all gun owners must be listed. why the list?

    • Jeff

      Control. Pure and simple.
      The communist doctrine states clearly that in order to be able to control a society one must first disarm it’s people.
      Why else would agencies like DHS have bought up over 900 MILLION rounds of 308s??
      Trust me. They are not going deer hunting.
      And why do non law enforcement agencies, such as the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, EPA, IRS and the like now have their own tactical SWAT teams??
      Wake up folks,, 1984 is HERE. Government IS “Big Brother”.

  • Jeff

    The only thing this “law”, if voters are dumb enough to pass it, will do is make criminals out of law abiding citizens.
    Face the fact that, if I read it right, that even handing a gun to a friend while at the range could technically qualify as a “transfer”, therefore needing the requisite paperwork to be filled.
    I spent my first 37 years of life in the “people’s socialist republic” of California.
    Trust me when I say I understand how those people think.
    If it passes, I can promise that some neo leftist WILL try to interpret the law that way.
    It should not be a surprise that other socialists over the last 100 years have made gun registration and then confiscation, their goal.
    Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, to name a few.
    Yes, the term NAZI was the “National Socialist Party” of Germany under Hitler.
    Surprise, socialist libs. Hitler was a SOCIALIST. Just like you. Aren’t you proud of yourselves, knowing that??

    • colsooonscoorner

      They don’t care. ‘Cause they’re do it better. Bet the results would be the same.

      • Jeff

        Not sure exactly what you mean.
        If you meant they would grab the guns, then I agree.

      • colsooonscoorner

        I meant the commie/libs today think they could do it better than Hitler, Stalin or Moussolni. The younger, newer generation thinks they are so much smarter than anyone else ever was. They would take the guns and then turn us all into their slaves, Plus if they didn’t like your politics they’d shoot you like the dictators of the 1940’s did

      • Jeff

        The sad thing is that history is rife with sheeple who have allowed themselves , and because if their actions, or inactions, the rest of us, to be marched off into slavery of one form or another.
        And all because they saw true freedom as too scary, ( they would actually have to THINK for themselves ) while failing to understand that the alternative being offered was, in the end, far worse then their imagined fear of freedom.

  • GiveMeABreak54

    The bad thing is, we see NOTHING except pro 594 commercials on TV while absolutely nothing on NO 594. Not even a challenge to their assertion that anyone can go on Gunbroker and buy any firearm and have it shipped directly to their home no questions asked. As anyone knows who bothers to look, all firearms have to be sent to a FFL to have the background checks and to collect sales taxes etc. performed just like buying from a normal gun dealer.

    • Jeff

      There is little, if any, difference between the sides these days.
      By our side doing nothing, if ( heaven help us) it passes, the (silent) “vote no” guys will then claim they need better funding from support groups to challenge it in court.
      If it fails, the vote yes guys will make a similar claim for more funding to continue the fight.
      Either way, both sides will remain friendly off camera and swap jokes over a steak dinner.
      Politics, on both sides, these days is not about right and wrong.
      Neither side even believes that there IS a right or wrong.
      It’s only about gaining power.

      • Truhawk

        Did you donate? any of you guys? Then don’t be surprised if they win. They have the cash to lie on tv.

  • Truhawk

    according to the letter of I-594, you can be out in the woods shooting with a buddy, and hand him your rifle to take a couple shots, and you are breaking the law as that is considered a transfer.