NRA Challenges Washington State Initiative

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posted on November 17, 2018
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The voters in Washington State might have had their say on sweeping anti-gun legislation, but that doesn’t mean that the fight against Initiative 1639 (I-1639) is over. Indeed, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) have joined together to file another legal challenge against the ballot measure, saying it violates the right to keep and bear arms.

Among other things, I-1639 requires buyers of semi-automatic rifles to be 21 or older (though federal law sets the age at 18). They must also pass an enhanced background check and show proof of having taken a firearm training course.

The NRA and SAF are fighting the measure, partly on behalf of two plaintiffs—a member of the Army Reserve and a competitive shooter, both of whom are under 21.

"The NRA is committed to restoring the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding Washingtonian," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA¹s Institute for Legislative Action. "I-1639 violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts people at risk. This lawsuit is the first step in the fight to ensure that Washingtonians are free to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense."

The initiative passed with 60 percent of the votes, and it was helped along by millions of dollars in support from gun control groups.

"We are disappointed that too many voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme, despite overwhelming law enforcement opposition," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.

The initiative has a storied history, as early fights to keep it off the ballot went the way of gun owners. The argument in that court case involved technical questions, such as the fact that the petitions soliciting signatures did not include strike-throughs or underlined text and failed to inform people how the bill would change existing law.

And the restrictions it calls for are such that even police opposed the measure.

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