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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM

State Patrol: We won’t arrest people at anti-I-594 rally for exchanging guns

We wrote Tuesday about a planned rally in Olympia to demonstrate against the freshly-passed Initiative 594, which will expand gun-purchase background checks to private sales and transfers.

Demonstrators plan to bring their firearms to the state Capitol on Dec. 13 and exchange them in what they say will be a violation of I-594, which they claim will criminalize law-abiding gun owners. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which spearheaded the I-594 campaign, and its supporters have said the law’s language would not criminalize people handing guns to each other temporarily.

Now, a Washington State Patrol spokesman says people won’t be arrested for exchanging guns.

“We don’t think that we could prove that that’s a transfer,” said Bob Calkins, spokesman for the patrol.

“We are asking them for good gun-safety practices,” Calkins added, such as handling the weapons safely and not intimidating people.In those cases, there might be other laws that demonstrators would be breaking, and patrol officers will respond accordingly, Calkins added.But, “these are law-abiding folks, they have a political statement,” Calkins said. “We don’t expect a huge problem.”

According to the rally’s Facebook page, as of this morning, 6,100 people have indicated they are coming to the rally.

Comments | More in Gun initiative | Topics: i-594

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