As an educational organization, the ADTA's policy is to not take a position on candidates or political issues. However, there are occasionally initiatives which may affect members' gun rights, so we would like to inform you of the effect these would have on those rights, if passed. As always, of course, we encourage members to vote your conscience, however that may be.
There are two initiatives of particular concern:
(1) I-98, concerning firearms and ammunition:
Initiative Measure No. 978, filed March 21, 2018 _____ BILL REQUEST - CODE REVISER'S OFFICE
Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would prohibit the sale or transfer of firearms to a person under 21 years of age, with exceptions. The exceptions include transfers of firearms between immediate family members who are 18 years of age or older. It would prohibit the sale of all forms of ammunition for firearms to anyone under 21 years of age. Violations would be punishable as a gross misdemeanor or as a class C felony if a repeat offense.
This is an initiative to the Legislature, meaning if it obtains sufficient signatures, it goes to the legislature and they can pass it into law without a vote of the people. If they take no action, it would go to the ballot in November of 2019.
The issue of concern with I-978 is that it would prohibit sales of guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21. Some feel this abridges the gun rights of law-abiding citizens, especially when background checks are already required for such sales.
(2) I-1639, Relating to increased public safety:
Initiative Measure No. 1639, filed May 2, 2018. AN ACT Relating to increasing public safety by implementing firearm safety measures, including requiring enhanced background
Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would require enhanced background checks, firearm training, and waiting periods before semiautomatic assault rifles may be purchased or delivered. It would impose age limitations on who may purchase or possess certain firearms, including prohibiting firearm purchases by persons under age 21. It would require certain secured firearm storage or trigger-locks, and criminalize certain firearm storage if it results in unauthorized use. It would enact other firearm-related requirements, including certain warnings, recordkeeping, and fees
This is an initiative to the people, and if it obtains sufficient validated signatures prior to the early-July cutoff, it will appear on the November ballot this year.
Some provisions of this initiative:
- Anyone purchasing a semi-automatic assault rifle (I'll refer to it here as a modern sporting rifle, or MSR) must complete a six-part "firearm safety course."
- Raises the age to purchase an MSR to 21.
- Requires the long form background check, used for pistols today.
- Allows a fee of up to $25 for that background check
- Imposes a 10-day waiting period to take possession of an MSR.
- Creates felony or gross misdemeanor penalties if an unauthorized person gains access.
- Grants immunity to any public official who erroneously denies a sale/transfer.
- Prohibits purchase of an MSR by a non-resident.
- Restricts places where youth 18 - 20 may possess an MSR.
- Requires annual (or sooner) re-verification that the owner meets possession requirements.
- NOTE: This initiative defines any rifle as a "semi-automatic assault rifle" ...."which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to to fire each cartridge." To be clear, this definition of a "semi-automatic assault rifle" would include a 75-year old tube-fed Savage 22 rimfire rifle.
Yesterday, in a defeat for Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Initiative 1639 proponents, the Thurston County Superior Court sided in part with the NRA and found that certain parts of the ballot title were deceptive and misleading. As a result, they ordered amendments to several key provisions of the initiative’s ballot title.
Again, the ADTA does not suggest that members support or reject these initiatives. However, we do want to inform you as clearly as possible about possible legislation which may affect members' 2nd Amendment rights. If you feel passionately about these initiatives, one way or the other, we encourage you to talk with friends and family, neighbors and co-workers, and inform them of your perspective on these initiatives. And again, if you feel strongly about these initiatives, remember that they're currently gathering signatures prior to the July cut-off, so there is a time value to communicating your thoughts to others.
-- Your ADTA Board of Directors