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New Washington Gun Law Results in Blowback after Museum Removes WWII Exhibit Firearms to Comply

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Published on: November 21, 2014

Washington’s Initiative 594, which was backed by leftists Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, passed on the ballot in November. Because voters in Washington decided to partially give up their rights to keep and bear arms to tyrants in violation of their own state constitution, it forced the Lynden Pioneer Museum to remove World War II-era guns from their exhibit in order to comply with the ridiculous legislation.

Initiative 594 requires background checks for anyone who is the recipient of a gun whether by sale, trade or transfer. The law also applies to loans of guns.

The Bellingham Herald reports:

The 11 rifles the museum borrowed from collectors for the exhibit are too new to qualify as antique under the law, and I-594 is silent on any exemption for museum displays.

“I read through the law about 10 different times looking for a loophole,” said Troy Luginbill, the museum’s director.

The weapons in the exhibit include an anti-tank rifle, a rare Johnson M1941 used in the war by a Marine paratrooper, and a Japanese infantry rifle used by a U.S. Navy man, Luginbill said.

The museum’s attorney told Luginbill the board had two choices: Comply with the law or challenge it. The board decided not to take a chance.

“We have elected to comply with the law as we understand it,” Luginbill said in an interview on Monday, Nov. 17. “The ideal situation would be if someone comes along from the state and says, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ If that happens before May 1, we can put the guns back on display.”

The museum posted the announcement to their Facebook and encouraged people to come out and see the rare and unique Firearms before December 3, after which they will be returning them to their owners on December 4.

“The museum will be returning these guns to their owners because as of Dec 4th, we would be in violation of the law if we had loaned firearms that had not undergone the background check procedure,” officials wrote in a post on the museum’s official Facebook page. “Nor would we be able to return those firearms unless the owners completed the back ground check procedure.”

They also posted pictures from the exhibit.

According to Geoff Potter, a spokesman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which led the I-594 campaign, the legislation wasn’t intended to be a problem for museums or donors to historical exhibits, but alas, that is the law of unintended consequences, isn’t it?

“This is clearly not what was concerned when I-594 was designed,” Potter said. “You can’t craft every possibility into every law. We think they can go forward with the exhibit, and we hope they will.”

The Blaze adds:

James Payne, executive director of the Fort Walla Walla Museum, said his museum has in its permanent collection World War II-era weapons that it plans to use in an upcoming exhibit. He said Wednesday he wonders what would happen if he wanted to loan the weapons to another museum.

“How do you do a background check on an institution?” he asked.

Seattle police officer James Ritter, who founded the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, said he doubted that returning a gun to its rightful owner would be considered a “transfer” under the law. Regardless, he said it was exceptionally unlikely that investigators would target museum exhibits for prosecution.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Luginbill didn’t disagree. But even a tiny risk was too much, given the heavy toll legal problems could have on a nonprofit with an annual budget of $132,000, he said.

Interestingly, on top of the Second Amendment which declares that the “rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” the Washington State Constitution seems to be violated by I-594. According to Section 24, titled Right to Bear Arms:

The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the reality is that any type of restriction or regulation of arms against citizens is an impairment to them bearing arms in defense of themselves or their state.

Webster’s defines impaired as “Diminished; injured; weakened.” Isn’t that exactly what is taking place with Initiative 594? Isn’t the right to bear arms being diminished, weakened and injured as a result of I-594?

It appears to me that some are just not willing to fight for their liberty, but are content to roll over to tyrants rather than oppose them. It seems there could be a pretty strong case to reverse Initiative 594 in spite of a public vote, for it is not only a right of the people to keep and bear arms unobstructed by government, but also their civil duty.

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