BELLEVUE, WA – A new Rasmussen Poll showing that 70 percent of Americans believe someone needs to be convicted of a crime before their property can be seized underscores the need to prohibit gun confiscations without due process, a major tenet of Initiative 591 in Washington state, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

The Evergreen State measure is on the Nov. 4 ballot, and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb is one of its chief proponents. I-591 was written to prevent the same kind of outrage that followed Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, in which hundreds of firearms were seized from their owners without warrant or probable cause.

“The Rasmussen survey results show overwhelming public opposition to any kind of property seizure without due process,” Gottlieb said. “Firearms are valuable private property, and in an emergency they could make the difference between life and death. While the Rasmussen survey was not targeted specifically towards firearms confiscation, the results are certainly telling.

“What is alarming about the survey results,” he continued, “is that 11 percent of the respondents actually believe that someone is guilty until proven innocent, which is anathema to our justice system. These must be the same people who think that gun ownership should be regulated like a privilege rather than respected as a constitutionally-protected, fundamental civil right. They’re the people who oppose I-591.”

The Rasmussen survey asked about civil forfeiture laws now in effect that allow the government to seize someone’s property even if someone has not been charged or convicted of a crime.

“Gun prohibitionists would love for it to become law that a person’s firearm could be confiscated, simply because of some declared emergency, or maybe because he bought it from an in-law or acquaintance, or inherited it from an old friend or mentor,” Gottlieb observed. “I-591 was crafted to throw a roadblock in their path toward public disarmament.”