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Gun owners blast I-1639, worry initiative punishes responsible users

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Initiative 1639, a measure on gun control, passed overwhelmingly with 60 percent of voters saying yes.

Under 1639, the legal age to buy a semiautomatic rifle is raised from 18 to 21, and buyers of those weapons will be subjected to enhanced background checks and have a 10-day waiting period before they get their guns.

Q13 News traveled to an East King County gun store to ask firearms fans what they think of the possible changes.

The owner at LowPriceGuns.com did not want to share an interview on camera but he does expect sales to grow between now and when the law goes into effect. That’s because he thinks customers will buy their firearms now to avoid the new fees and training requirements.

There were plenty of signs posted at the gun store urging customers to vote no on I-1639, and most of the people we talked to voted that way.

“I voted no,” said Tal Boldo.

The NRA and select law enforcement groups rallied against the gun measure. Opponents say it forces gun owners to secure them in a way that could put them in danger.

“I’m concerned of not being able to access my gun when I need it,” Boldo said.

“You call the police or things go down, it’s less than one minute,” said Alex Lam. “Those seconds count.”

Lam also slams the measure’s restriction of sales to those under 21-years-old, saying it doesn’t make sense to allow 18-year-olds to vote for an initiative that undercuts their own interests.

“We can ask them to die for our country, volunteer for our military and yet they cannot buy booze,” he said, “Or in this, case a modern sporting rifle.”

The measure also requires new gun owners to undergo an enhanced background check and training, including how to talk to kids about safety. There’s also study required surrounding suicide prevention and secure gun storage.

What’s more, the new law could hold owners liable if their firearms are stolen and later used in a crime.

Some worry law-abiding gun owners are being unfairly targeted.

‘I am being liable, not the criminal,” Litovkin said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“What if someone took the small safe and walked away with it, would I then be held to blame for that?” Boldo asked. “The language of the initiative is too vague.”

If certified, the initiative’s new age restrictions goes into effect at the beginning of the new year – and all other aspects of I-1639 becomes state law next July.