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A closer look at I-1639: Those in favor call it ‘urgent,’ those opposed say it’s ‘oppressive’

SEATTLE – Q13 News correspondent C.R. Douglas took a look at a measure to tighten Washington’s gun laws that is on the ballot in November’s election.

If approved, I-1639 would create some of the strictest regulations in the country including raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles.

Supporters argue that recent mass shootings could have been prevented with these new measures, but opponents worry about infringing on 2nd Amendment rights.

It's not too strong to say there is a gun control agenda in this state, Douglas said.

A few years ago, you'll recall, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility promoted the universal background check initiative.

Then in 2016, it was the extreme risk protection measure, which also passed. And now this.

“There is urgency because we're literally losing lives every single day,” said Rene Hopkins with the Alliance For Gun Responsibility.

“It’s extremely aggressive and oppressive for gun rights,” said Alan Gottlieb with the 2nd Amendment Foundation.

Here are the main elements of I-1639:

  • Most notably, it would raise the age to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles from 18 to 21, which is the current age limit to purchase handguns.
  • It would create a 10-day waiting period.
  • It would mandate firearms training.
  • It would require owners to safely store their guns.

The biggest change to current gun law is the new age requirement. Washington would be only the fifth state to hike the age for semi-automatic rifles.  And that's led to a heated debate about whether this measure goes too far.

So far the supporters have raised nearly $5 million, far out-spending the opponents.