Tags: Gun Rights | MidPoint | Washington | gun-control | law | gun owners | felons

Ex-NRA Official: Wash. State Turns Lawful Gun Owners Into Felons

By    |   Wednesday, 12 November 2014 01:33 PM

While gun-control supporters lost most of their battles in last week's midterm elections, Washington state voters approved new background checks that will criminalize the act of transferring a personal firearm to a friend or relative, a gun rights supporter told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

Once Washington's Initiative 594 goes into effect, "I could be a 20-year friend of my local police chief, but I couldn't hand him a gun without violating the law and becoming a felon," Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association in New Hampshire, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Feldman, a former police officer and past political director for the National Rifle Association, said law-abiding firearms owners fear that Washington state has gone well beyond protecting the public from gun violence.

While background checks are designed to keep felons and the mentally ill from buying firearms, Washington's law will target "family members, old friends, [and] hunting buddies" who know and trust one another if weapons pass between them in private transactions, said Feldman.

A supporter of the measure, staff attorney Allison Anderman of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, dismissed the argument that the law will effectively end a long-accepted and nonviolent part of firearms culture.

"If you are a person who is not a felon or mentally unstable or otherwise already prohibited by law [from having a gun], then you will pass a background check and none of your rights are disturbed," Anderman told Berliner.

Anderman said the ballot measure makes sure "that people who are already prohibited from being able to possess a gun do not get access to these guns" by closing a loophole that enabled criminals by allowing them to evade background checks.

The new initiative, which will become law in December barring a successful legal challenge, requires background checks for all in-state gun purchases not just at brick-and-mortal retailers, but also at gun shows, on the Internet, or through transfers.

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The ballot measure passed with about 60 percent support, and with communities still in mourning after a deadly Oct. 24 school shooting at a Seattle-area high school.

Anderman said that background checks enjoy overwhelming support nationwide even from gun owners and NRA members.

Feldman said that's not the case if background checks are being used to indiscriminately punish gun culture or to enable the government to monitor people on the basis of which guns they own and how many.

He also turned the overwhelming-support argument back on Anderman, arguing that if gun policy is going to be made according to public sentiment, then Tuesday's elections were an overwhelming win for pro-gun candidates and gun rights in general.

Feldman said the millions of dollars that anti-gun activists, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, poured into the elections would be better spent on mental health issues and on identifying and treating "those who are seriously troubled before they resort to any kind of violence."

Asked why the National Rifle Association doesn't also support mental-health initiatives, Feldman said that looking to the NRA for guidance in that area is like "asking the American Automobile Association to take a position on airplane flying."

"They're experts in firearm safety, but not in mental health," he said.

He also challenged Anderman to support more firearms safety training and more education on how to securely and safely store guns.

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While gun-control supporters lost most of their battles in last week's midterm elections, Washington state voters approved new background checks that will criminalize the act of transferring a personal firearm to a friend or relative, a gun rights supporter told Newsmax TV.
Washington, gun-control, law, gun owners, felons, NRA
594
2014-33-12
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 01:33 PM
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