Opponents of Washington state’s Initiative 594, the proposal to extend background checks to private gun sales, say the initiative's wording would effectively criminalize almost anyone who hands anyone else a gun, including students in a gun-safety class or a father and son out on a hunting trip, says the Seattle Times. I-594's supporters say that's not so. They argue that opponents are seeking to distract from the measure's core intent of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and people with serious mental illness.
Most of the attention around I-594 has focused on its call to expand background checks to gun shows and other private sales, including online and between people who trade for a gun. The initiative spells out certain transfers that would be exempt from a background check, such as those involving antique guns, gifts between immediate family members, loans at authorized shooting ranges or on hunting grounds, or when someone's life is in immediate danger, among others. Six states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island — and Washington, D.C., also require background checks for anyone buying or receiving a gun, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.