Initiative-1639 has been the root of controversy ever since supporters began asking for signatures. It became even more complicated when the Washington Supreme Court overturned a Thurston County judges decision after the judge initially threw out over 300,000 signatures saying the petition didn’t follow election law claiming it was unreadable.
Robin Ball owner of Sharp Shooting Range in Spokane, is leading the charge in Eastern Washington when it comes to Initiative-1639. She believes the ballot measure infringes on law-abiding gun owners.
“1639 goes too far in restricting the gun rights of law-abiding citizens especially in that category where we register them to vote at 18 and they can’t buy a firearm but we’ll send them off to war at 18,” said Ball, who isn’t a supporter of the initiative.
Initiative 1639 would not only raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, it would also expand background checks for those purchasing semi-automatic rifles. The initiative would also label ordinary and entirely legal hunting guns, competitive shooting rifles, and target shooting rifles as “assault rifles.”
Campaign manager Stephen Paolini for Vote Yes on I-1639 says this initiative is based on the best available data in Washington state on gun violence.
“I Think we have done a great job. We stay within the bounds of the second amendment, and our personal mission is to balance rights with responsibilities and whats in I-1639 it’s not going to affect responsible gun owners period,” said Paolini.
Initiative 1639 if passed would also hold gun owners accountable if an unauthorized person had access and would use the firearm to harm themselves or others. The initiative also would require gun stores to offer secure storage devices.
Ball disagrees with I-1639 and says the age requirement is the biggest issue because the training and background checks are already there.
“The number one issue for us. There’s so many, but one of them is raising the age from 18-21 to be able to buy a rifle,” said Ball.