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I-1639 forces WSU to ax popular gun storage program


Campus police at Washington State University are killing a popular safe gun storage program because of restrictions imposed by recently implemented firearm laws.

Lewis County DA: I-1639 is ‘an unenforceable law’

I-1639 established safe storage requirements in Washington state when it went into effect in 2019, as well as imposing tougher background check measures.

The way the law is written, WSU police say they’d have to conduct a background check every time a student checked out their gun, which would take several days. They’d also have to do a “mental health check” and send letters to mental health facilities to make sure the student is allowed to have a firearm.

That forced campus police to ax the program, due to the strain long wait times would impose on the system.

“You would have to do the background [check], plus you would have to do the mental health portion of that — that would take like seven to 10 days to send the letters out and get all the information back so we could check it out,” said Steve Hanson with WSU campus police.

The program has been around more than 40 years. Police say it’s extremely popular among hunting and shooting enthusiasts — they had up to 70 guns checked in a year, to the point that they designed their new headquarters to accommodate a student gun storage area.

How I-1639 is already affecting Washington gun sellers

The hope from campus police is that they can find a solution sometime in the near future.

“We’re still trying to work and see if there’s something we can do to provide this service again,” said Hanson.

In the meantime, Hanson recommends WSU’s gun owners talk with local gun clubs and stores to see if they have storage areas of their own. Neither are subject to the same restrictions as campus police, largely because storing your gun with a club or store doesn’t qualify as a transfer of ownership.

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