Will I-1639 ‘wake up’ gun owners in Washington state?
Soon after the Washington State Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision that removed I-1639 from the November ballot, opponents began mobilizing for an appeal to get it back.
I-1639 aims to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic assault weapons to 21, create enhanced background checks for purchasing those weapons, and includes additional safe storage rules. The lawsuit brought by the Second Amendment Foundation argued that signature gatherers broke state initiative rules, which should invalidate it.
Beyond the breaking of rules though, Workman is disturbed by the gun control precedents the law would set.
“It takes away a right from young adults — people of maturity, people who can vote, people who can join the military and defend the country — and yet they’re not considered mature enough to buy a semi-automatic rifle, which could be anything from a Ruger 10/22 to an AR-15 modern sporting rifle.”
Workman also sees issues with the $25 fees for the registrations, which he says amounts to a tax on a civil right, as well as the “unenforceable” safe storage mandate.
“I presume there is going to be a challenge in court,” he said. “Right now, the activists are just trying to fire up the grassroots to beat it in November. That’s going to be a tough deal because they’ve got $4 million plus and the backing of billionaires to pass this thing. Right now, the opposition has a paltry $118,000 combined between two organizations.”
I-1639 supporters griping about big money is ‘hypocrisy’
It’s not necessarily the disparity that bothers Workman, but how supporters of the initiative continually gripe about big money in politics, all while taking that money and disingenuously chastising the other side.
“The hypocrisy is just overwhelming in this campaign,” Workman said. “I remember back in early August there was an email sent out from the supporters of 1639 wailing that the NRA had contributed $100,000 to start the opposition campaign, when they had, I think, close to $4 million in their war chest.”
In any case, Workman hopes the implications of the initiative will wake up gun owners in Washington state.
“Traditionally, they’re a pretty lethargic bunch until they’re really threatened. Well guess what? Now they’re really threatened.”