Initiative 1639 is being promoted as a public safety measure; those actually working law enforcement know that IT WILL DO NOTHING TO STOP A SINGLE CRIME. This initiative has nothing to do with "assault weapons" and is directed only at our good citizens who already pass multiple background checks before owning a firearm.
The Washington State Law Enforcement Association (WSLEFIA) opposes Initiative 1639. I-1639 harms law enforcement officers and all citizens of Washington:
I-1639 creates a new crime of "Community Endangerment" and there is NO law enforcement exemption. If a law enforcement officer should fail to secure either a personal or duty firearm as prescribed by I-1639 then that officer may be subject to felony criminal charges. Even a department-issued firearm must be secured with a trigger lock or in "secure storage." The trunk of a patrol car is not specified as secure storage.
I-1639 requires a 10 day wait for law enforcement officers who wish to buy a semiautomatic rifle, whether for personal or duty purposes. There is no exemption for either a commissioned officer or a Concealed Pistol License.
I-1639 requires that law enforcement officers attend a "safety" training class before purchasing any semiauto rifle. There is no exemption for law enforcement commissioned personnel and no recognition of either department or BLEA academy training.
I-1639 would require that a law enforcement officer who sells a semiauto rifle to another officer go to a firearm dealer and pay fees. The purchasing officer must wait 10 days, pass additional background checks, and show proof of "safety" training.
I-1639 targets law-abiding citizens--not criminals--by creating a new law that would make the innocent victim subject to CRIMINAL charges if his firearm is accessed by a prohibited person. The ugliness of shaming and blaming the victim of a crime should never be made law. I-1639 ignores the criminals while attacking the victims of theft.
Law enforcement officers will be made to investigate the victims of crime rather than pursuing the perpetrators of crimes.
I-1639 falsely demonizes all semiautomatic sporting rifles as "assault rifles"--the rifles they wish to deny to the public are the most common sporting and hunting firearms--the type of firearms LEAST likely to be used in crimes--this fact is supported by both FBI and Washington State crime statistics.
Youth rifles, plinkers, collector firearms, hunting and self-defense rifles--if they are semiautomatic, I-1639 will re-classify them as "assault rifles."
I-1639 strips adults under age 21 of their right to self-defense. Law-abiding young adults will no longer be able to possess any modern defensive firearm, neither handgun nor rifle.
I-1639 attacks our safest and best-trained firearm users--licensed and safety trained hunters--by prohibiting the use of modern sporting rifles by those age 18-20.
I-1639 would unlawfully seize semiauto rifles already owned by those under age 21 by prohibiting any possession or use of these rifles at target ranges and for hunting.
I-1639 creates both a literacy test and the equivalent of a poll tax--they call it a fee--to exercise a right guaranteed by both State and Federal Constitutions. You wouldn't accept this for voting or any other right and neither have the courts.
I-1639 delays the LAWFUL purchase of a rifle by 10 days--even after all background checks are passed! A right delayed is a right denied.
I-1639 impairs a citizen's defense their home by requiring that the most effective defensive firearms be locked and inaccessible by the homeowner.
I-1639 creates an unnecessary, costly and ill-considered requirement for government-mandated training that is already adequately addressed by Washington Arms Collectors-provided training, National Rifle Association safety instructors, WDFW Hunter Safety training and private clubs and ranges.
I-1639 creates yet another huge unfunded bureaucracy that will only duplicate the background checks already Federally required. Don't be fooled--the background check system already exists and all semiauto rifle buyers already are required to pass background checks.
I-1639 will prohibit legitimate sales of rifles to fully background checked and Federally-approved purchasers from other states, thus harming all State and Federally licensed firearm dealers.
I-1639 will not stop a single crime or shooting. Criminals are not subject to any of the requirements; only law-abiding citizens go through background checks and they already do so.
I-1639 wrongly burdens our most law-abiding citizens while doing nothing to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.
"The WSLEFIA finds that I-1639 is an attack on civil rights and is an attempt to marginalize all firearm owners, including law enforcement officers. I-1639 will impair public safety, embolden criminals and impose burdensome restrictions on our most law-abiding citizens."