I-1639 would require safe storage, safety training for firearms

Law would also apply 10 day waiting period to purchase semi-automatic rifles

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

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Washington voters will be deciding Nov.6 whether or not to make the state’s gun laws some of the strictest in the country with Washington Initiative 1639.

I-1639 would raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 and add enhanced background checks, both of which are already in place for the purchase of handguns. Additionally, there would be a 10-day waiting period to purchase semi-automatic rifles.

The initiative would also require safe storage and safety training for all types of firearms. Specifically, it would hold gun owners who did not secure their firearms legally responsible for damage caused when someone who should not have access to the weapon uses it in an unlawful way.

Kristen Ellingboe, communications director of Yes on I-1639, said this initiative will help prevent gun violence deaths in Washington.

Several versions of the initiative’s restrictions have come before the legislature before and failed, she said.

“I-1639 is really a response to a failure of the Washington State Legislature to pass many of these measures to strengthen our gun laws,” Ellingboe said. “The good thing is that Washington voters have an opportunity this November to vote yes on 1639, which will put in place crucial safeguards to help prevent guns from falling into dangerous hands.”

The major opposing campaign, Vote No on I-1639, which is backed by the NRA, believes the law will not prevent gun deaths and instead will decrease community safety by preventing lawful access to firearms for self-defense, according to the campaign’s website.

According to the website, “Initiative 1639 is 30 pages of poorly drafted gun-control proposals that is guaranteed to do one thing: strip away the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners in Washington State.”