This fall, there will be several Initiatives on the Ballot. This is some information about one of them – Initiative 1639 – that might help you understand just how invasive this initiative is. We need to get out the vote in this state and work to defeat I-1639. Vote NO on I-1639.

First, the Initiative defines what weapons we are talking about – Semiautomatic assault rifle is defined to include all semiautomatic rifles with limited exceptions. So we aren’t talking about the dreaded AR-15 or any other specific firearm, but every single firearm that fits the definition – and that’s a huge chunk of them.

  1. You cannot sell or transfer of a semiautomatic assault rifle unless both a federal and state background check have been completed through law enforcement (read more money to hire law enforcement to process – and there is no way to pay for it in the initiative – the counties would have to come up with the money), the person has completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the last five years (think about this – you have to take the same class every 5 years. Reminds me of my EMT husband who has had to take CPR every year for 45 years, even though he has actually used it and saved people’s lives every year between “classes”), and awaiting period of ten business days have elapsed from the date of application (even if you’ve already been checked every which way to Sunday). A fee up to $25 may be charged for each transfer (add this to the cost of the gun safety course you had to take because of #2 requirement above).
  2. Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from purchasing a semiautomatic assault rifle. There are a lot of people who don’t have a problem with this one, but the major objection is that if an 18 year old kid can go into the Army, they should be able to buy a gun. But on the flip side of that, there sure seem to be a lot of 18 year olds who have a hard time dealing with life. Lots of people are pretty neutral on this one, as long as there are exceptions for military and law enforcement – but those don’t exist, and it has to be voted on, as is. Whichever side you fall into on this particular portion, this is still an awful piece of legislation.
  3. The crime of community endangerment due to unsafe storage of a firearm is created. A person who stores a firearm in a location where they reasonably should know that a prohibited person may gain access to it may be charged with the crime if the prohibited person gains access and uses the firearm in an unlawful manner. This is probably the one of the worst of the issues in this bill. If someone breaks into your house, or in our situation, a bear/cougar/cayote is endangering family or livestock, hopefully you can gain access to your safe, open it with those hands shaking with adrenaline, load your firearm, and finally protect your home. Yes, there are people who use firearms negligently. But a sweeping law that says you have to lock up all firearms is not the way to address stupid behavior. As always, we have to find a balance between liberty and law enforcement. I lean to the side of liberty and the Second Amendment right to own a firearm. It doesn’t do me much good in the safe if I have to access it in a hurry.
  4. The Department of Licensing (DOL) must annually verify that purchasers of pistols and semiautomatic assault rifles remain eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law – this one will add considerable to workload of DOL. And it sure seems to me that this creates an atmosphere where anyone who owns a firearm is considered suspect. You have to check up on me every year? Really? I have a Concealed Carry Permit. Am I really going to be treated like a potential criminal on a yearly basis? Not sure I like that idea!
  5. Finally, I’d like to give you the words directly from the initiative that are quite concerning-

A signed application to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the health care authority, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release, to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency, information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.

This initiative is way out of bounds. Of course, this is a no-brainer for any Second Amendment supporter, but for those who really want some legislation, this is not it. Please vote no this November on Initiative 1639.