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Ben Shapiro


Does the I-1639 gun initiative criminalize self-defense?

(File, Associated Press)

I-1639 seems to be getting traction in the state of Washington, with numerous local governments passing their own versions ahead of the vote. Though this may create the appearance of momentum, gun-rights activists are nonetheless stalwart in their opposition, which they believe threatens basic rights.

“They took four bills that went to the Legislature and didn’t pass, combined them all together, and added a bunch other stuff, so it became this omnibus, anti-gun rights bill,” Alan Gottlieb with the 2nd Amendment Foundation told The Jason Rantz Show.

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. For Gottlieb and many gun rights activists, I-1639 will potentially undermine the ability for basic self-defense, making it easier for gun owners to break the law while becoming more vulnerable to actual criminals.

RELATED: Will I-1639 ‘wake up’ gun owners in Washington state?

“It criminalizes self-defense. You have to have your firearms stored in a way that you may not have access to them when you need it, and if you don’t, you can become a criminal,” Gottlieb said.

“Not only that, but the criminal penalties become even more severe if somebody were to come into your house, steal your gun and use it in a crime. It makes you a criminal so you get victimized twice, first by the criminal that stole your gun, and then by the state of Washington afterwards.”

In addition to storage laws, Gottlieb is against raising the age to purchase semi-automatic assault weapons to 21, and the re-defining of what an assault weapon is, which in a sense, would cause virtually all semi-automatic rifles to be classified as assault weapons.

How can gun rights activists reach those who are on the fence about I-1639?

With those who don’t own guns and may be on the fence with such issues, Gottlieb hopes they’ll understand the greater implications for rights in general.

“Now when you go to purchase a semi-automatic because of this initiative, you have to wave your medical privacy rights. Nobody would put up with that for buying anything. There’s also a new purchase tax placed on firearms, so it will be more expensive,” he said. “This thing does everything it can to discourage gun ownership. It’s really punitive.”

“With the kind of rifles that they’re now encompassing as assault-rifles — FBI statistics show that the last calendar year had one homicide committed with a rifle. You’re taking a sledgehammer to a mouse so to speak. You’re taking people’s rights away.”

“You can’t give away your neighbor’s rights and expect to keep your own.”

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