Bad news for Washington gun owners. The draconian ballot measure known as Initiative 1639 passed into law this week, garnering 60 percent of the votes.
I-1639 bans the sale of semiautomatic rifles to adults under the age of 21, creates a registry of gun owners, establishes a 10-day waiting period for certain purchases, holds gun owners liable for failing to secure firearms, and allows the state to charge a $25 fee on the sale of “assault rifles.”
I-1639 defines “assault rifle” as “Any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.” Included in this category is any semiautomatic long gun chambered in .22LR.
Gun stores in the Evergreen State are already prepping for the rollout of I-1639 which officially takes effect on July 1, 2019. Except for the age restriction, that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
“Now we’ve got a law that’s going to cause problems for us and it’s going to cause problems for consumers and the impact on crime is going to be zero,” said Wade Gaughran, the owner of Wade’s Eastside Guns in King County, during an interview with KOMONews.
Gaughran believes that while folks may rush out to purchase firearms before the start date, the overall effect on sales will be negative.
“So there’s going to be a rush for people buying guns and beat the law to the punch but I think ultimately though it will have a negative effect for a while on gun sales,” explained Gaughran.
But as bad as things look in the short term, in the long term there may be hope. Pro-gun organizations plan to fight I-1639 in court.
“The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) will be jointly filing a court challenge to I-1639 and the chilling effect that it has of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” said Alan Gottlieb in an email to GunsAmerica.
Gottlieb is the founder of SAF, which is based in Bellevue, Washington.