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Author Topic: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594  (Read 38543 times)

Offline Bob33

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Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« on: December 02, 2014, 05:50:23 PM »
Received today.


State of Washington
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Mailing Address:  600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 • (360) 902-2200 • TDD (360) 902-2207
Main Office Location: Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington Street SE, Olympia, WA


December 2, 2014

M E M O

To:      Hunter Education Instructors

From:      David Whipple, Hunter Education Division Manager

SUBJECT:   ANALYSIS OF INITIATIVE 594

Dear Instructors,

During the November election, the voters enacted Initiative 594, concerning background checks on firearm sales and transfers.  I-594 becomes effective on December 4, 2014.  The Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in close consultation with our legal counsel in the Attorney General’s Office, has assessed the potential effects of I-594 on the Hunter Education Program, our instructors, and our prospective students.  We do not believe that I-594 will significantly affect the program. 

I will briefly summarize our analysis below.  More detail will follow in the next few days. 
•   I-594 requires that all firearms sales or transfers in Washington be subject to background checks and be made through licensed dealers, unless specifically exempted. 
•   I-594 exempts all law enforcement agencies from the background check/transfer requirement. WDFW, as a general authority Washington law enforcement agency pursuant to RCW 10.93.020(1), is therefore exempt from this requirement.  Any firearms purchase, sale or transfer to or from WDFW or WDFW employees when acting within the scope of their authority, is exempt from the background check/transfer requirement in I-594. 
•   The Hunter Education Program is a WDFW program authorized by state law pursuant to RCW 77.32.155(1)(a).  Hunter Education Instructors, when in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program, act on behalf of WDFW, and are therefore exempt from the background check/transfer requirements.  This exemption extends to Hunter Education Instructors whether or not they are actually in the classroom, provided that they are in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program.  (Firearms transfers by Hunter Education Instructors that are not for the purpose of the Hunter Education Program and within the scope of their authority as WDFW volunteers, are not entitled to this exemption.)
•   Transfers of firearms between Hunter Education Instructors (when in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program) and sports clubs, gun clubs, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also exempt from the background check/transfer requirements.   
•   Transfers of firearms between Hunter Education Instructors and Hunter Education students are also exempt from the background check/transfer requirements of I-594, when the Hunter Education Instructors are in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program.  Again, this is because the firearm transfer is to or from Hunter Education Instructors acting on behalf of WDFW, a law enforcement agency. 
•   I-594 contains limited specific exemptions for certain temporary transfers of firearms kept at shooting ranges and temporary transfers of firearms to persons under the eighteen for educational purposes.  Although Hunter Education instruction is an educational purpose and may occur at a shooting range, these two exemptions do not limit or override the broader background check exemption applicable to law enforcement agencies. Therefore, within the constraints described above, transfers of firearms between volunteer Hunter Education Instructors and students are exempt by virtue of WDFW being a law enforcement agency, regardless of the age of the student, and regardless of whether the firearm is removed from a shooting range.
•   Although we are still evaluating I-594, it does not initially appear that student-to-student transfers of firearms would fall within the general WDFW exemption for law enforcement agencies.  For students under eighteen, however, temporary firearms transfers for educational purposes are exempt if the student is under the direct supervision and control of a responsible adult (such as a Hunter Education Instructor) who may lawfully possess firearms.   Students eighteen and older are not entitled to this exemption.  However, regardless of the age of the person, temporary transfers that occur at an established, authorized shooting range are also exempt, if the transfer occurs, and the firearm is kept at all times, at the range.  If adult student-to-student transfers are not exempt, then adult students may, without triggering I-594’s background check/transfer requirements—
   Use inert firearms or air rifles (which do not meet the definition of a firearm); or
   Hand their functional firearms to an instructor who then hands it to the other student.

In summary, the transfer/background check exemption I- 594 applies to the following transfers of firearms to or from WDFW Hunter Education Instructors while in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program:
•   Between WDFW employees and Hunter Education Instructors
•   From one Hunter Education Instructor to another Hunter Education Instructor
•   Between Hunter Education Instructors and NGOs
•   Between Hunter Education Instructors and students

Additionally, student-to-student transfers may also be exempt under the circumstances and for the reasons described above.   Where such transfers are not exempt, we believe that minimal changes to classroom procedures will avoid conflicts with I-594.   
Nature. It's cheaper than therapy.

Offline actionshooter

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 06:35:40 PM »
That's good to get that cleared up, thanks for posting.
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Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 06:44:19 PM »
Wow! LE authority.  Really?  Nice, but, did you have this LE authority before? 

Quote
This exemption extends to Hunter Education Instructors whether or not they are actually in the classroom, provided that they are in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program.  (Firearms transfers by Hunter Education Instructors that are not for the purpose of the Hunter Education Program and within the scope of their authority as WDFW volunteers, are not entitled to this exemption.)

Although it does and does not surprise me that they suggest a student to instructor, instructor to student, series of transfers, to get around the problem of student to student transfers, where I-594 does not provide another exemption.  But it seems to defeat the purpose of I-594 and the limited set of exemptions.


Another thing to note is that, where a broader exemption exists (here, the limited WDFW LE exemption) the AG construes I-594 stricter exemptions to not be applicable or limiting, insofar as you stay within the broader exemption.  It kind of puts the onus on instructors as to determining what are the limits of your limited WDFW LE authority though. 


Are you getting similar guidance on how to teach the restrictions on temporary transfers as it pertains to "while hunting" and "direct supervision" exemptions in I-594, or is that sort of information beyond the scope of your instructor curriculum?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 06:50:20 PM by Fl0und3rz »

Offline ghosthunter

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 07:04:45 PM »
Wow! LE authority.  Really?  Nice, but, did you have this LE authority before? 

Quote
This exemption extends to Hunter Education Instructors whether or not they are actually in the classroom, provided that they are in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program.  (Firearms transfers by Hunter Education Instructors that are not for the purpose of the Hunter Education Program and within the scope of their authority as WDFW volunteers, are not entitled to this exemption.)

Although it does and does not surprise me that they suggest a student to instructor, instructor to student, series of transfers, to get around the problem of student to student transfers, where I-594 does not provide another exemption.  But it seems to defeat the purpose of I-594 and the limited set of exemptions.


Another thing to note is that, where a broader exemption exists (here, the limited WDFW LE exemption) the AG construes I-594 stricter exemptions to not be applicable or limiting, insofar as you stay within the broader exemption.  It kind of puts the onus on instructors as to determining what are the limits of your limited WDFW LE authority though. 


Are you getting similar guidance on how to teach the restrictions on temporary transfers as it pertains to "while hunting" and "direct supervision" exemptions in I-594, or is that sort of information beyond the scope of your instructor curriculum?

I suspect we will get some kind of hand out as to transfers during hunting.
They are not due to re write the hand book for a couple years or more. So any change will have to be in the form of a handout.

I can live with this with in Hunter Education as long as I can continue to use working firearms. I will not ever use the fake firearms. :twocents:
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Offline Rainier10

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 07:22:27 PM »
Great information, thanks for posting. This upcoming year will be a learning process for all.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline Bob33

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 07:28:48 PM »
But it seems to defeat the purpose of I-594 and the limited set of exemptions.
Gee that's too bad. :)
Nature. It's cheaper than therapy.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 07:40:31 PM »
But it seems to defeat the purpose of I-594 and the limited set of exemptions.
Gee that's too bad. :)

Agreed. It is a double edge sword is all.

Offline Hi-Liter

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 09:24:16 PM »
But it seems to defeat the purpose of I-594 and the limited set of exemptions.
Gee that's too bad. :)

Agreed. It is a double edge sword is all.
What do expect the ag is a democrat. 594 is just the tip of piercing 2A. This law is so stupid it took the ag office to interpret it and many lawyers either wrote it, critique it or had a hand in it. I really hope it's challenged in court

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2014, 09:31:03 AM »
did you have this LE authority before? 


Anyone have any information on this?

Offline Bob33

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2014, 09:34:19 AM »
did you have this LE authority before? 


Anyone have any information on this?
Certainly their Enforcement division does.
Nature. It's cheaper than therapy.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2014, 09:35:52 AM »
did you have this LE authority before? 


Anyone have any information on this?
Certainly their Enforcement division does.

I was hoping to hear from instructors whether this grant of limited LE authority is new.

Offline Bob33

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2014, 09:39:25 AM »
did you have this LE authority before? 


Anyone have any information on this?
Certainly their Enforcement division does.

I was hoping to hear from instructors whether this grant of limited LE authority is new.
If you are asking if volunteer hunter education instructors have LE authority, the answer is no. I can tell a student to leave but i can't arrest him.
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Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2014, 09:41:06 AM »
Did you receive that by mail, Bob? It's not on the instructor's website.
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Offline Oldguy

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2014, 09:49:11 AM »
It was e-mailed to all instructors yesterday afternoon. Supposed to be on instructors website today.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Guidance for Hunter Education instructors regarding I-594
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2014, 09:53:23 AM »
If you are asking if volunteer hunter education instructors have LE authority, the answer is no. I can tell a student to leave but i can't arrest him.

That is not what I am asking.  Let me put it another way.

Quote
The Hunter Education Program is a WDFW program authorized by state law pursuant to RCW 77.32.155(1)(a).  Hunter Education Instructors, when in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program, act on behalf of WDFW, and are therefore exempt from the background check/transfer requirements.  This exemption extends to Hunter Education Instructors whether or not they are actually in the classroom, provided that they are in formal volunteer status for WDFW and acting within the scope of their authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program. (Firearms transfers by Hunter Education Instructors that are not for the purpose of the Hunter Education Program and within the scope of their authority as WDFW volunteers, are not entitled to this exemption.)


The part in bold.  Have you been told in the past, for any other reason, that you enjoy limited LE exemption/authority as a volunteer for "WDFW and acting within the scope of their [WDFW's] authority for purposes of the Hunter Education Program."?


I feel it is necessary to state that I am not interested in taking any of that away (new or historical), nor am I assuming that you have full, unlimited WDFW LE authority for whatever purpose regardless of its connection to the Hunter Education Program.

I am just trying to understand the length that the state is willing to bend to accommodate something that we all agree is bad law. 

If it is a new policy (acknowledgement/grant of limited LE authority/exemption to law) or a paradigm shift, it certainly weighs in the argument over whether 2/3 of the legislature should act within the two year restriction on amending repealing initiatives.  That is what I am trying to discover.

 

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