Confusion about I-591 and I-594

Someone in my precinct emailed me (their PCO): “What is the difference between Yes on 594 and Yes on 591?”

I explained

I-594 is a gun control measure that requires background checks on gun purchases. Most Democrats support it.

I-591 is the initiative from the gun lobby to make sure that Washington State’s gun laws are not stricter than the national laws.

Please vote YES on I-594 and NO on I-591.

I’m curious what you read or heard to make you think that I-591 might be OK.

The constituent responded:

I have not seen anything except signs.  One says Yes on 591 and the other Yes on 594.  Earlier I had sent a donation to Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.  Then the signs came out, black signs for 591 first, and later red signs for 594. I wasn’t sure which one I sent the check to.  I thought maybe it was 591, BUT  I recently got a Thank you from the 594 Alliance signed by Zach Silk.  Other than that, I haven’t seen or read anything but a cartoon in the Seattle Times. I have been getting thousands of requests on line from everyone asking for money, but I don’t send cash on line, especially to people I never heard of. Thanks for the info.

Democracy is the worst possible political system — except for all the others.  Many people are poorly informed, and they’re susceptible to propaganda.  In a sense, democracy is a form of “might makes right.”

The key to good democracy is education and good (public) media.

168 of the 3000 children and teens killed by gun violence each year in the US

Image of victims of gun violence. Support I-594 for criminal background checks on gun purchases

To see the children in more detail, with names, click here.

For statistics on gun violence see For example, “A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.”

For information about I-594 see

Guns kill children.

At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since Newtown.

Firearms are wrong answer to question of school safety

As a new school year approaches, many parents are less concerned about their children’s comprehension of reading, writing, and arithmetic than they are about simple survival.Firearms enthusiasts suggest that arming teachers in the classroom or providing armed guards on school grounds would enhance safety. It’s the old National Rifle Association mantra that “the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” Or something inane like that.In fact, arming teachers with pistols is akin to arming surgeons with hatchets. Both teacher and surgeon are trained to improve the lives of those in their charge, one by education, the other by healing. Pistols and hatchets would be tantamount to an admission of failure. You need to shoot some former student who went crazy or hack off a body part of some patient who didn’t properly heal?

There’s something drastically wrong with that show-and-tell picture.

Instead of arguing about the effectiveness of firepower, perhaps we should be joining in a more fundamental discussion. Topics for assignment might include:

  • Mental health: Why aren’t we talking about this? Not just the issue of screening potential gun owners for mental health issues, but the overarching question of what as we as a society doing to help, house, and care for those among us who might pose a danger to themselves and their neighbors.
  • School counseling might be a great place to begin. Why is there such a mad push to decrease funding for education and all of its ancillary benefits when there’s a crisis of disaffected, alienated children and young people staring us right in the face? We ought to be increasing our financial support schools, both inside the classroom and outside. Counseling, clubs, music, art, and yes, sports provide outlets to expression and inroads to the future.
  • Parental involvement: It’s tough when a conservative-backed “austerity” economy is dragging households down into the depths of financial despair—tough to find the time to participate in your kids’ educational development when parents need to hold down multiple jobs just to put food on the table.  The simple answer to this conundrum is to vote for government representatives who are genuinely interested in improving the job market and raising the standard of living, rather than providing tax breaks for the rich and promoting outsourcing jobs abroad while downsizing here at home. Meanwhile, make time to talk to your children about what’s bothering them, how to make things better. Ask your schools how you can help promote student health and safety, both mental and physical.

The choice is clear: reclaim our schools as sanctuaries of learning and expression, or trundle our kids off every day to the OK Corral.

Originally published at

Why we need criminal background checks: a resolution

Criminal Background Checks on Gun Sales in Washington State and Support of I-594, Initiative to the Legislature

WHEREAS, gun injuries and deaths in Washington State are a significant public health problem with approximately 600 people killed by guns each year over the past decade, and in 2010 more people in Washington State died by guns (609) than in traffic accidents (554); and

WHEREAS, since 1994 over 2.1 million firearm purchase applications have been denied because of federal criminal background checks for gun sales through licensed dealers required by the Brady Law, but up to 40% of firearm purchases are between private parties and not subject to criminal background checks; and

WHEREAS, risk for new criminal activity is increased among those with a prior criminal history, inmate surveys have shown that at least 80% of firearms inmates used in crimes were obtained in a private transfer, and more than 40% of homicide offenders and inmates incarcerated for firearm-related offenses were prohibited persons when they acquired their firearms.

WHEREAS, one study (JAMA 2001; 285:1019-1026) found that denial of handgun purchase to people in California who had committed violent misdemeanors was associated with a decrease in risk of arrest for new gun and/or violent crimes.

WHEREAS, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring background checks for all firearm purchases or handgun purchases, and Washington state has not; and

WHEREAS, current WSDCC platform supports “comprehensive gun-sale background checks, including criminal, mental health, and domestic violence checks, and waiting periods, applicable to gun shows and other transactions; mandatory registration and licensing; required safe gun storage; safety training for all gun owners; a limit on volume buys of firearms by an individual; and a total ban on assault weapons and oversized ammunition magazines;” and

WHEREAS, initiative 594 is an initiative to the Washington State legislature that would apply background-check requirements currently used for gun sales by licensed dealers to all gun sales and transfers, with specific exceptions, and require the checks be conducted through licensed dealers, and for the foreseeable future is the only realistic path to enact this policy in Washington State; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the 32nd Legislative District Democratic Organization supports Initiative 594, which would apply criminal background-check requirements to all gun sales and transfers in Washington State, with specific exceptions; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution be sent to the King County and Snohomish County Democratic Central Committees, and to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee for consideration at its Sept. 20-21, 2013 meeting at Ocean Shores, WA.

Adopted August 14, 2013 by the 32nd District Democratic Organization

Introduced by Carin Chase, PCO and 32nd LD Chair
Originated by Phillip Aram, WA Alliance for Gun Responsibility
(206) 533-8335;

Language settled for I-594: background checks for gun purchases

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced today that a judge gave final approval to the language of their ballot initiative, I-594, which will establish background checks for gun purchases.

Gun rights groups had litigated to change the wording of the initiative to something more favorable.  The original proposed wording of the ballot initiative was

Initiative Measure No. 594 concerns background checks for gun sales and transfers.

This measure would apply the background-check requirements currently used for gun sales by licensed dealers to all gun sales and transfers, with specific exceptions, and require the checks be conducted through licensed dealers.

In a minor win for the gun rights people, the final language the Superior Court judge approved replaces the word “gun” (which apparently has negative connotations) with the word “firearm”:

Initiative Measure No. 594 concerns background checks on 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 exemptions.

As reported on July 10 on the Alliance’s facebook page,

Last week, a group of ideologues filed a lawsuit to change 594’s ballot title to make it more confusing and more partisan. Tomorrow is our day in court. Because 8 out 10 of us support background checks, the gun lobby needs to confuse voters to win. We are determined to stop them — and will be going toe-to-toe with their lawyers tomorrow afternoon to do just that.

Click here to sign the endorsement pledge for I-594.

Deliver petittions to Dave Reichert this Thursday, May 23 in Issaquah

Eastside Organizers Delivery of Petitions to Reduce Gun Violence

Thursday, May 23, 2013 2:00PM – 2:30PM
Rep. David Reichert
Vanguard Building
22605 SE 56th Street, Suite 130
Issaquah, WA 98029

Sign up to help deliver online petitions to Rep. Reichert here

Organizers, Volunteers, Supporters and Interested Folks,

When the President changes his mind, we change our plans! A national OFA decision has been made to deliver the gun show background check online petition signatures to Rep. David Reichert (R – Dist. 8), this Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:00PM.

The petition signatures are being printed, and will be shipped to me by Federal Express. John Thompson, an Eastside Organizer CTM, will be leading those who help him into Rep. Reichert’s office. I will be accompanying him to take and tweet photos.

We need your help. We need extra organizers to help John. We will remind Rep. Reichert, or his staff, that in 1999 he said, “I have a heart to serve. Period.” He set himself to the public out as having expertise in homeland safety, and he wanted gun show background checks and to ban the sale of assault weapons. The original signatures collected at the Hobby & Volunteer Expo, and letters collected in action planning sessions will also be delivered. The collection of signatures for gun violence will be ongoing until legislation has passed, and deliveries of them will be ongoing, too.

The memory of the victims and dashed hopes should accompany these signatures. Therefore, please bringing a flower, a photo of Gabby Gifford, Hadiya Pendleton and other photos to remind Rep. Reichert this is more than just paper!

Please sign up here to help John and me. Sign up to help deliver online petitions to Rep. Reichert here

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday at 2:00PM. It will only take 30 minutes of your time (unless Rep. Reichert is there and is willing to talk to us).

(Forwarded from Sandra Castell, OFA Team Leader of the Eastside Organizers, (425) 761-4310,