What is Initiative 1639? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What is Initiative 1639?

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NBC RIGHT NOW- Election day is a few weeks away and you may be wondering what initiative 1639 is, also known as the changes to gun ownership and purchase requirements measure.

A vote in favor of this initiative would change several requirements for purchasing and owning semi-automatic rifles.

The measure would change the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21. Anyone who purchases one must pass enhanced background checks.

Proof of taking a firearms training course within the last 5 years must also be presented when purchasing. There will also be a 10 day waiting period for purchasers to pick up their guns from dealers.

Under the measure any person who leaves a firearm in a place where a prohibited person can gain access to the firearm would be found guilty of a class C felony. Every dealer would be required to sell or give gun purchasers a gun storing device such as trigger locks to stop unauthorized use of the weapon. 

Every location firearms are sold would be required to display sign in capitalized block letters saying: 

"WARNING: YOU MAY FACE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION IF YOU STORE OR LEAVE AN UNSECURED FIREARM WHERE A PERSON WHO IS PROHIBITED FROM POSSESSING FIREARMS CAN AND DOES OBTAIN POSSESSION."

The Department of Licensing will be charging each purchaser or transferee a $25 fee to fund the state, mental health institutions, and local law enforcement for the cost of meeting their obligations under the measure.

Safe Schools Safe Communities is leading the campaign in support of the initiative. They argue 5 of the 6 last school shootings used assault weapons. They also claim assault weapons are not designed for hunting or protecting families in danger.

Supporters:

  • Late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballamer.
  • The Alliance for Gun Responsibility
  • Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Those Against the initiative say this would criminalize law-abiding gun owners. It would make it nearly impossible for adults aged 18-20 to defend themselves with a gun. They also say it would be unlikely to have an impact on violent crimes like it promises.

Against:

  • NRA
  • The Washington Arms Collectors
  • The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
  • Second Amendment Foundation. 

This 30-page document is the nation's only firearm measure on the ballot this year. 

You can find complete text of this initiative at this link: https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/finaltext_1531.pdf

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