The Washington Supreme Court reversed a ruling by Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon on a Washington gun initiative. Last week, Dixon ruled that the I-1639 ballot initiative, pushed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, was illegal.
The case began because the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation sued in separate cases, which Dixon combined, to prevent the initiative. This new ruling affects both cases and puts the measure back on the November ballots.
The gun-rights organizations argued that the petition didn’t properly explain the measure; it didn’t explain how state gun laws would change. The Alliance admitted it made a technical error in formatting, but stated the law doesn’t require that formatting and that the petitions displayed the entire proposal.
According to court’s ruling, state law “does not allow for pre-election judicial review of the form, process, substance, or constitutionality of an initiative petition.”
Supporters of the I-1639 ballot initiative say it is about raising the legal age to purchase long guns. However, both the NRA and the SAF say it does much more, implementing numerous gun controls.
I-1639 Washington Gun Initiative
According to the NRA, the I-1639 Ballot Initiative would change several laws in regard to firearms. In fact, the group claims that the measure would:
- Create a gun registry for all transfer of commonly owned semi-automatic rifles;
- Introduce a 10-business day waiting period on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles;
- Impose criminal liability on otherwise law-abiding gun owners who fail to store their firearms to state standards;
- Increase the age limit to possess or purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21;
- Mandate training prior to purchase;
- And authorize a $25 fee to be assessed to semiautomatic rifle purchasers.
The fight is probably not over, with both sides having fund-raised on the measure, according to The Seattle Times. Additionally, the ruling will probably be appealed to the federal courts.
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