Steve Mansfield Commentary: Initiative 594 Will Chip Away at Our Constitutional Rights


Recently, I received an email from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray inviting me to join him in supporting I-594. I don’t personally know Mayor Murray and am not sure why he thinks I would support I-594.  I assume Murray is a very nice man even though I don’t care much for his political views especially concerning gun control. To be perfectly clear, I am not supporting I-594.  As a matter of fact, I have not yet talked to one sheriff that is supporting this initiative. As your sheriff, I can assure you my position in the past and today remains firm in the” law of the land” and support of our constitution. The “law of the land” in regards to our second amendment is clear and has been reinforced by the most recent Supreme Court decisions. “The right to bear arms stands.”

I-594 will chip away at our Second Amendment rights and is in part, a misleading gun control initiative financed by some very wealthy people. I-594 is not the answer to gun violence or in keeping violent criminals off our streets yet this is what the proponents are advocating.  I believe at the core of this initiative is a misleading agenda for taking advantage of several horrific and tragic incidents of mass indiscriminate shootings in order to push tighter gun control and further erode the Second Amendment of the Constitution.  It does not address high profile shooting sprees and massacres but instead promotes registration, restriction, and controlling of law abiding citizens’ constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. The fact this initiative further expands the government’s massive database on law-abiding citizens is even more disturbing.

I-594 does not address mental health background checks and will not stop dangerously unstable people such as those responsible for recent mass killings. It totally disregards the common theme of recent high profile gun crimes being committed by mentally ill people who passed background checks.  I-594 also creates over burdening regulatory excess and an unfunded mandate for law enforcement which is basically unenforceable without diverting current resources away from prioritized activities.

There is a ton of money behind I-594 with several billionaires lining up in support of it. I wonder what it is they are afraid of.  It appears to be shaping up as a real David and Goliath type battle. As your sheriff and an American who cares deeply about our country, our constitution and our community I urge you to vote “NO” on I-594.


Steve Mansfield is the Lewis County sheriff.