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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 10/23/2018 in Firearm News

Washington Initiative 1639

Washington Initiative 1639

Proposed Washington gun law reaches farther than proponents say. 

Gun control is one of the matters on the ballot as Washington State voters head to the polls in November. 

Initiative I-1639 seeks to place "restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms including raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, background checks, waiting periods, and storage requirements." 

In Washington State, an initiative is a proposed law put before the voters. 

A key part of Washington Initiative 1639 are the two words, "a gun." Legally, that covers anything that is considered a gun under Washington State law. State law says a gun is the same thing as a firearm. 

Supporters of this initiative say it is aimed at putting the same restrictions on some semi-auto rifles as found on handguns.

“The big thrust is making sure it is at least as hard to purchase a semi-automatic assault rifle as it already to purchase a handgun,” Stephen Paolini, Campaign Manager of the Yes on 1639 campaign told KOMO News

That is not what this proposal says. If it passes, an AR15 is subject to the same restrictions as a Ruger 10/22 in .22 Long Rifle or BAR .30-06. 

The Yes on 1639 group has a Frequently Asked Questions page to explain what they say this law will do. 

The proposed law contains 30 pages of additional information, none of which appear on the ballot. This supporting legislation can be changed by the state lawmakers in regular session. 

What the supporters say Washington Initiative 1639 will do and what the Washington State legislature passes to enable this law may not be the same thing. The state legislature has the opening law as a guideline, not a strict and concrete set of directives. 

On the other side of this, the Washington State Sheriffs Association (WSSA), Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) are opposing the initiative. 

In a press release from the three associations, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said, "Law enforcement professionals recognize the extreme nature of I-1639. Not only does the initiative discriminate against gun owners, it classifies common recreational firearms as 'semiautomatic assault rifles' and requires gun buyers to surrender their medical privacy in order to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right." 

Surrendering medical information in connection with gun purchases is part of federal law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is supposed to make medical information secret, shareable nay by the person affected. Under the Obama Administration, the law was amended directly for firearm purchases

The vote on Washington Initiative 1639 will likely split the Evergreen State as these maps show. The western half, along the urbanized and liberal coast, will support this measure. The rural east side of the state with strong traditions of hunting and gun ownership likely will vote no. The blue area on the east side is the Spokane area.

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