WA Initiative 1639: Adds New Gun Restrictions
Initiative 1639's ballot title reads: “This measure would require increased background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use; allow fees; and enact other provisions.”
The basic provisions: increase the age by which people can buy pistols and semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21; require a dealer to wait at least 10 days before delivering a semiautomatic weapon to a buyer; prohibit anyone who is not a resident of Washington from buying a semiautomatic firearm in this state. The initiative would create new criminal offenses for the unsafe storage of a firearm, if the person stores or leaves a firearm in a place where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a prohibited person may gain access to it. Failure to securely store a firearm would be a crime if a person who is legally ineligible to possess a firearm uses it to cause personal injury or death.
It’s the third in a set of gun-related measures to go on the Washington ballot this decade. Initiative 594 in 2014 required gun sellers to run background checks on their customers before they could finalize sales. Initiative 1419 in 2016 allowed courts to issue what are known as “extreme risk protection orders” in order to keep guns out of the hands of people who may be suicidal or a risk to others. Voters approved both.
A few weeks ago, the Yes on 1639 campaign came to Spokane to kick off a doorbelling campaign. That day we talked with Renee Hopkins from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and initiative campaign manager Stephen Paolini.
Later, we talked with Robin Ball, who opposes 1639. Ball owns Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Spokane.