After more than a year of fierce campaigning that saw anti-gun groups ally with billionaire philanthropists, some 60 percent of ballots cast Tuesday in the Evergreen State were in favor of expanding background checks to virtually all gun transfers.

The votes for ballot Initiative 594, fronted by the little-known Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, intends to change gun statutes in state through its 18-page measure to eliminate what the group calls a “loophole” in the current system. The group had the widespread support of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety organization, which funneled nearly $2 million into a war chest to back the measure.

“Washington State has become the first state to close the background checks loophole by popular vote,” said Everytown on their social media account late Tuesday. “594 extends the currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to cover all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with reasonable exceptions.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA), however, argued that the move is actually an end-run on building an unconstitutional firearms registry that is full of unseen pitfalls for the average gun owner.

“No 18-page law is simple,” reads the NRA’s No on 594 website. “Further, 594 is classic bait and switch…supporters constantly and dishonestly refer to ‘sales’ when the language of the proposal regulates ‘transfers’, very broadly defined. Virtually every time a firearm changes hands, the transfer would be required to be processed through a licensed dealer. Worst of all, I-594 is being disguised as a simple background check measure, when in fact it would result in handgun registration.”

While the NRA invested nearly $500,000 in fighting the ballot referendum, in the end they were far outspent by gun control groups backing the measure. In addition to Bloomberg’s millions, tech billionaires Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Paul Allen added well over an additional million of their own money to the pot. However, venture capitalist Nicolas Hanauer outdid even the Microsoft philanthropists by coming close to Bloomberg’s own mark.

The billionaire investor grew personally involved in the gun control campaign, leading to an increasingly bizarre commentary on gun violence on social media. Following a tragic shooting event in Washington in October, Hanauer tweeted, “We need more school shootings!!! Vote yes on Initiative 591,” referring to the counter-initiative on the ballot that aimed to derail 594.

Even though 27 of 39 elected sheriffs in the state as well as two large law enforcement associations joined with the state Republican Party to oppose 594, it was a large majority of voters in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area that carried the day for the measure. In more rural areas, voters in nearly two thirds of the state rejected the referendum.

With the passage of 594 into law, the NRA has voiced fears that Bloomberg may take his now-successful model on the road.

“If he is successful in this ballot initiative in Washington, we are very concerned that he will replicate this across the country, and we will have ballot initiatives like this one across the country,” Catherine Mortensen of the NRA told The Olympian.

With that being said, Washington may be the first state in the union to vote in expanded background check schemes, but it may not be the last.

Image copyright Getty Images/vmbfoto

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11 thoughts on “Voters Opt for “Enhanced Background Checks” in Washington State

  1. Apparently it’s time to revisit splitting the “Evergreen State” into 2 again. The massive population boom in the Seattle/Tacoma area over the last 25 years or so has skewed the apparent political views of a massive land area once again.

    Bring on the court cases to prove that 594 was and is blatantly unconstitutional. While it requires all “transfers” to have background checks performed, the only way to prove a transfer has happened is to have an up-to-date registry of gun ownership in the state.

  2. Pass all the unconstitutional gun regulation laws you wish. Passing laws and enforcing them are two entirely different issues. Did ANY of the Liberal communists give ANY thought to what this new law will cost the state? Of course not. Remember people, the devil is in the details and the details will not be discovered until it is too late. Good job Liberals, one more step towards tyranny and the Brown Shirts of old.

  3. It is sad that EDUCATION is not a requirement to vote. This law is the first step in the Markist handbook to a Communists Nation. Pour Founding Farthers gave us the 2nd Ammendment for the sole purpose of keeping the people in control of the government not the other way around. This movement is one of George Sorrels passions , he got his start working for Hitler in occupied Hungry during WW2.. IT IS A SAD DAY WHEN THE POTHEADS IN SEATTLE ARE ALLOWED TO RULE THE STATE.

  4. There is nothing unconstitutional about a gun registry. Why does everyone worry so much about a gun registry? Many states have had them for decades and no state has used it to take away guns from the people. Btw there is no need to say that something is for sale as if it were a bad thing. The NRA spent 500K to buy prop 591. It’s not as if they didn’t spend anything. They tried to buy the vote but we’re cheap about it. If the vote were in Texas they would have spent 500 Million which is ridiculous as they should have spent 5 Mil in Washington as it would have helped get their fear message of the man coming for their guns. Hahaha politicians have been saying that the man is coming for your guns since guns were first used in the US and yet their are still little scared kittens out the believing the ghost stories.

    1. Most of those 18 pages had nothing to do with closing any loopholes and were all about restricting the rights of legal gun owners. Now it will be illegal for me to allow my lifelong friends to use any of my weapons for a simple target practice in my woods behind my house on my property without an expensive and lengthy transfer process. How does that impact crime?Heck, i cant take a pistol to a licensed gun range and share it with my law abiding friends unless i agree to permanently keep it there now! How does that impact criminal activity? Any registry here is a redundant copy of the Federal lists compiled during normal transfers, providing nothing but additional financial hardship for a state already deep in debt, not to mention blowing up the law enforcement budget, and limiting time spent in the field. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that gun rights are being restricted little by little. I have no problem with BGC’s for private transfers. I do have issue when someone tells me I have to get a transfer to let my lifelong friends who are upstanding, law abiding citizens take a few shots with my weapons. It does nothing to prevent crime. It is an attack on gun owners rights with the ultimate goal, as stated by the anti gun establishment, as cofiscation. However, this law as written violates the Wa St Constitution and there will be legal challenges ahead. Look for this tactic again from anti gunners: hiding rights restrictions behind legislation that could pass if properly marketed.

  5. Way to often the language on referendems at the ballot box is convoluted to get the average voter to vote contrary to what they are wanting to vote for.

  6. Whether forty percent of registered voters took part in the election, or ninety-nine, The Bill of Rights cannot be over-ridden by a referendum. The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are considered to be unalienable, not prey to the vagaries of public opinion. The rights are not given to the people or the states by the federal government, the people grant to the government whatever authority they think they have. What Obama and his administration think is 180 degrees out. We do not work for the government, they work for us. I had Patty Murray tell me once, when the issue was national firearms reciprocity and the Democrats made a special set of rules that defeated the bull wanted by gun owners, Patty told me that we did not want someone coming in from out of state and telling us what our gun laws should be. In the election of I-594, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Steve Balmer and other libtards with more money than integrity bought the election. On December 13, at 11:00 Am, there will be a rally on the capitol grounds in Olympia, and approximately 55,000 Washington gun owners will tell the legislature, the police, the media and the poor fools that the gun grabbers fooled into passing this illegal and unconstitutional travesty they have foisted upon us. By Disobedience, the people of I-594 – I Will Not Comply will violate every item in I-594. The supporters of 594 camouflaged the horrible, Draconian sections of 594 by passing it off as a common sense drive to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. They had a woman tearfully blaming guns because a convicted domestic abuser got hold of a gun illegally and killed his girlfriend, and some police officers (?) saying 594 would save police and victims of possible future crime victims, as well as prosecutors saying it was a good law. We know from a careful reading of the 18 pages of verbiage hiding the sections that will turn us legal gun owners into felons overnight. Since the election, the gun grabbers have been patting themselves on the back and crowing that they are not done and will not rest until there is not one gun in a citizen’s hands. Stand up for your rights, people. All that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.

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