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Initiative 591, the better measure

— Gun rights and control advocates will duel it out on election day over competing initiatives. On the Nov. 4 general election ballot, state voters will be asked to decide on Initiatives 591 and 594.

I-591 would prohibit government agencies from confiscating firearms without due process. It also upholds the federal background check system, but would restrict state agencies from requiring background checks. I-594 would require all gun owners to conduct background checks on all firearms transfers, even if they are giving a gun to family members.

Given our rural lifestyles here in North-Central Washington, we believe Initiative 591 is the right choice.

The measure would help preserve the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. And it would further enforce our right to privacy by preventing state agencies — from taxing authorities, to recreational agencies to law enforcement, to others — from requiring firearms background checks in addition to the national system already in place.

Looking at the gun control measure, I-594’s passage would be a direct assault on our rural way of life. If it passed, gone would be the days of gifting a hunting rifle to some family members or friends without first completing a background check and providing it to a government official. And gone would be the days of gun and knife shows open to private sellers, like the one this past weekend that brought firearms and outdoor recreation enthusiasts to the fairgrounds.

Here in North-Central Washington, firearms are considered tools often necessary to defend ourselves and feed our families. Our youth see ownership as a rite of passage toward adulthood. And in some communities — like Riverside — gun ownership is “required” as a deterrent to crime.

We already have multiple laws at local, state and national levels to curtail inappropriate use of firearms. More bureaucratic laws aren’t going to make our state a safer place to live.

When casting your ballot on the dueling gun measures in the upcoming general election, we encourage you to support I-591. A vote for I-591 is a vote in support of your constitutional right to keep and bear arms without unnecessary government intrusion.


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