Washington State will soon join the ranks of California and New York in enacting the toughest gun control laws in the United States.
On Tuesday, voters in the state approved a referendum that green lights a host of changes to rules on who is allowed to buy a gun, and how gun owners are obligated to keep their firearms. The vote came on the heels of the 2018 midterm elections, where the largely pro-gun control Democratic Party made significant gains in state and national elections.
The approved 30-page proposal raises the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle to 21-years-old. The new law also comes with enhanced background checks and introduces new rules for storing storing firearms. Gun owners who fail to use devices such as trigger locks to store their weapons could face felony charges.
Supporters of the proposal, known locally as Initiative 1639, applauded Tuesday’s vote by calling it a victory against gun violence.
“My generation has been defined by gun violence. We have been defined by continued and repeated inaction by our elected officials,” initiative campaigner Stephen Paolini said. “I hope tonight this victory is a message to our elected officials: Enough is enough.”
Washington’s referendum was the only one of its kind featured on ballot’s throughout the country. The campaign supporting it raised over $5.5 million. Donors included Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in October.
Opposition to the bill was mainly led by the National Rifle Association, which scrapped together just over $622,000 (notably lacking the support of coastal billionaires).
Clearly, this is a loss for gun owners and all Second Amendment supporters living in Washington. With nearly all modern firearms being semi-automatic in nature, Washington state voters have essentially criminalized self-defense for younger adults. It’s also hard not to look at the strict new storage rules as being anything other than a way for the state to punish gun owners for existing.
Gun owners in America did receive better news on the national level, however. By flipping seats in the Senate, Republicans have further cemented their hold on the legislative chamber responsible for approving federal judges. This puts gun rights advocacy groups in a better position to sue state governments for enacting unconstitutional laws, which Initiative 1639 clearly is.
~ Ready to Fire News