'Tracking the Truth':  TV ads for and against Initiative 594

SEATTLE -- The gloves are off over Initiative 594.  This is the measure that would require background checks on all gun sales in Washington.  Millions are being spent to sway voters.  And many claims are being made in the advertisements.

Yes on I-594

Here’s an excerpt from the latest ad supporting I-594:

“In states that have closed this loophole, dramatically fewer women are killed at the hands of their abusive partners,” said Kelly B., a retired police officer.  “594 will save lives.”

We find this claim to be:  True.

Federal research does indeed show that in states with background checks on handguns, domestic violence deaths by firearms are much less common.

No on I-594

Opponents of Initiative 594 haven’t raised nearly as much money as the proponents, but they are putting up a fight, including with this recent TV ad:

“ will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals for simply exercising their Second Amendment rights,” said gun instructor Annette Wachter

We find this claim:  True...but in very rare circumstances.

This claim is based on the language of the initiative that would require background checks on gun transfers, not just gun sales.  Opponents point to some very rare cases where, say, during a hunting class you couldn’t hand out guns to help with the teaching.

We say this would be rare, since I-594 does include several exemptions to background checks, including gifts to family members and loans for sporting activities.