Voters in WA State Pass Massive Gun Control Initiative

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Posted: Nov 07, 2018 5:55 AM
Voters in WA State Pass Massive Gun Control Initiative

For months, gun control advocates in Washington State have peddled initiative 1639, which moves to create stricter firearms laws. On Tuesday, 60 percent of Washingtonians voted in favor of ballot measure, the Seattle Times reported.

Specifically, i-1639 will:

• Raise the age someone can purchase a rifle to 21.
• Create an "enhanced background check system similar to what is used for handguns."
• Require a person to complete a firearms safety training course.
• Create a common stand for secure gun storage.

Those in favor of the measure believe that even further gun laws will prevent mass shootings.

“My generation has been defined by gun violence. We have been defined by continued and repeated inaction by our elected officials,” Stephen Paolini, 22-year-old campaign manager for 1-1639, told supporters on Tuesday. “I hope tonight this victory is a message to our elected officials: Enough is enough.”

Alan Gottlieb, the Founder and Executive Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation, said he's prepared to go to court to challenge the legality of the measure. 

“A handful of billionaires put in millions of dollars to buy votes and we were outspent,” Gottlieb said. “But while they were able to buy votes, our hope is they won’t be able to buy judges.”

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he's prepared to fight for the measure in a court of law.

For high-profile initiatives, there is almost invariably a lawsuit," Ferguson told KREM-TV. "That’s the way the world works these days, and we’re prepared for that.”

The Legal Battle Over The Initiative

There have been serious legal battles over the initiative since signature gathering began in late spring, early summer. The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) challenged i-1639's constitutionality in mid-July when questions arose about whether or not the petition's format complied with state law. SAF and CCRKBA argued that font size, strikeouts and failing to provide voters with new, proposed language violated the state Constitution.

A judge eventually ruled in favor of the gun rights groups in mid-August, saying state law was clear and i-1639's petitions were not within the bounds of the law. Roughly a week later the Washington State Supreme Court overturned the lower court's ruling, saying the initiative must be on the November ballot.