A split decision on gun safety initiatives debate

Like many parents in our state, I have been closely following the 591 vs. 594 initiatives debate. I believe that any discussion about gun safety and the importance of the second amendment is a good thing.

Did you shoot your first gun at 8-years-old? Did you go to sleep at night with a rifle above your bunk bed? Did you attend school with a fifth grader who accidentally killed herself when she discovered a handgun? Or did you grow up in a house with no guns at all?

How we engage in this conversation is a result of the culture we grew up in.

The sad thing about the gun debate is that ordinary people become “judgy” and say rude things. Respectful dialogue can be hard to come by.

Many years ago, I remember Friend No. 1 viewing Friend No. 2’s gun collection and saying “You’ve got enough guns to take California!”

Whether you think that comment is funny or horrifying could be a litmus test for what you think about gun ownership in America.

For my own part, I would vote to protect every amendment in the Constitution to the utmost of my ability.

But after closely studying both initiatives, I take umbrage with I-591 calling itself the “Protect Our Gun Rights Act.” If I-591 passed, it would give Washington D.C. the privilege of deciding what was best for the state of Washington.

I-591 would mean that Washington could not “require background checks on the recipient of a firearm unless a uniform national standard is required.” To me, I-591 tramples on states’ rights.

I-594 is a different initiative altogether.

Let’s say you have a daughter with a history of dating extreme losers. Her last boyfriend is a convicted felon. She’s called 911 multiple times and gone through the proper channels to issue a restraining order against him. As her mom or dad, you worry.

Right now as the law stands, Evil Ex could not go to a gun store and purchase a firearm. But with cash in hand, he could race to a gun show and purchase something deadly without any background check at all. Or he could buy a gun from a private party. Yes on I-594 closes the loophole that allows this.

Without a gun could Evil Ex still find a way to harm your daughter? Sadly, yes. But I-594 allows for gifts between immediate family members. You as a parent could provide your grown child with a firearm to protect herself — no background check required.

Domestic violence, abuse, crimes against women — background checks won’t instantly solve these problems. But they might help. According to Everytown for Gun Safety: “In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.”

So as a mother, I’m voting No on I-591 and Yes on I-594. We need to protect our daughters.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at www.heraldnet.com/ibrakeformoms and teachingmybabytoread.com.

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