Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against I-1639

Jul 3, 2018, 11:44 AM | Updated: 11:54 am


Opponents to the I-1639 gun initiative launched a lawsuit contending the measure is not on legal footing. (Photo: MyNorthwest)

(Photo: MyNorthwest)

The state Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit against the new I-1639 gun initiative days after opponents filed. 

RELATED: I-1639: Washington state’s latest gun control initiative

The lawsuit states “that the Secretary of State’s office cannot count the signatures collected over the past month because the people who sponsored it failed to print the correct language on the back of their initiative,” activist Glen Morgan told KTTH’s Todd Herman on Monday.

Opponents, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, say the petitions also included print that was much too small for signers to read.

“This is a complete amateur hour screw-up on their part. I don’t know how anybody would be able to explain or justify it,” Morgan said.

But the court ruled Tuesday that the action is dismissed because it has no legal standing to seek judicial review. It was filed against “certain respondents who are not state actors and because they (gun rights advocates and individual voters) may not seek judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision whether to file the initiative petitions in any event.”

The court said it’s now up to Secretary of State Kim Wyman to “refuse to file any initiative or referendum petition being submitted” if it is deficient. If it’s not deficient per RCW 29A.72.170, Wyman “must accept and file the petition.” Wyman tells KIRO Radio she’s reviewing the ruling.

Read the ruling

Initiative I-1639 would: create enhanced background checks for semiautomatic assault rifles; raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21; require a firearm safety training course; enact a waiting period before purchasing; and establish standards to responsibly store firearms.

Initiative 1639 arose in the wake of recent school shootings in Florida and Texas, which left a total 27 people dead. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility soon after raised upwards of $3 million for its latest Washington state ballot measure. It also received the financial backing from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who each contributed $1 million.

Yes on 1639 has until Friday to turn in the 260,000 signatures required for the November ballot.

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Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against I-1639