Alliance for Gun Responsibility marchers at the 2016 Pride Parade
Alliance for Gun Responsibility marchers at the 2016 Pride Parade

NPI’s friends at the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty announced today they intend to spear­head a mea­sure for the Novem­ber 2018 bal­lot that would restrict civil­ian access to mil­i­tary grade weapons in Wash­ing­ton State, also known as assault rifles.

Stu­dents across Wash­ing­ton and the Unit­ed States walked out of class ear­li­er today to protest the coun­try’s fail­ure to pro­tect its peo­ple by imple­ment­ing laws that would reduce gun vio­lence. April 20th was cho­sen for a day of action in part because it is the nine­teenth anniver­sary of the hor­ror at Columbine.

“Gun vio­lence is an avoid­able epi­dem­ic and is far too com­mon in our coun­try and state. Too many peo­ple have lost their lives to vio­lence; too many fam­i­lies, chil­dren, and com­mu­ni­ties are rat­tled to the core. The peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton — from the kids march­ing for their lives, to their par­ents and grand­par­ents who are call­ing their elect­ed offi­cials – demand action NOW,” said Renée Hop­kins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty, in a state­ment dis­trib­uted to the press.

“We’re answer­ing their call with a com­pre­hen­sive bal­lot ini­tia­tive to help ensure safer schools and neigh­bor­hoods and through exten­sive work with vot­ers ahead of November’s elec­tion. We must elect more gun respon­si­bil­i­ty cham­pi­ons and do what­ev­er we can to strength­en our gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion laws.”

“My son Will attend­ed the house par­ty that trag­i­cal­ly turned into a mass shoot­ing. I’m so thank­ful every day that he man­aged to get out alive. Three oth­er stu­dents were not so lucky,” said Paul Kramer, Muk­il­teo res­i­dent and cit­i­zen spon­sor of the Reduce Assault Weapon Vio­lence Initiative.

“We need com­pre­hen­sive reform when it comes to assault weapons. Teens should not be able to pos­sess these dan­ger­ous weapons. We’ve seen what can hap­pen when they do. We can’t let that hap­pen again.”

The forth­com­ing ini­tia­tive would, as described by the Alliance, do the following:

  • Raise the min­i­mum pur­chase age to 21 for all semi-auto­mat­ic weapons.
    • In Wash­ing­ton, it is cur­rent­ly eas­i­er to buy an assault weapon than it is to pur­chase a hand­gun because assault weapons are treat­ed the same as hunt­ing rifles. This must change.
  • Cre­ate an Enhanced Back­ground Check at the time of pur­chase including:
    • A local law enforce­ment check iden­ti­cal to the one we cur­rent­ly require for handguns.
    • Requir­ing the pur­chas­er show that they have com­plet­ed a safe­ty train­ing course with­in the last five years that includes basic safe­ty and safe stor­age rules, safe han­dling, and an overview of state and fed­er­al firearms laws.
  • Dan­ger­ous Access Prevention.
    • Holds gun own­ers respon­si­ble if a child or oth­er pro­hib­it­ed per­son access­es and uses an unsafe­ly stored firearm to harm them­selves or anoth­er person.
  • Ensure con­tin­ued eli­gi­bil­i­ty to pos­sess or pur­chase an assault weapon.
    • Requires the Wash­ing­ton Depart­ment of Licens­ing (DOL) and the appro­pri­ate law enforce­ment agen­cies to work togeth­er to devel­op a process to ensure that pur­chasers con­tin­ue to be eli­gi­ble to pos­sess a firearm.
  • Require informed con­sent at the point of pur­chase about the inher­ent risks asso­ci­at­ed with the pres­ence of a firearm in the home. 
    • Requires the noti­fi­ca­tion at the point of sale that own­ing a firearm increas­es one’s risk for injury, death by sui­cide, domes­tic vio­lence and homicide.
  • Estab­lish a wait­ing peri­od up to 10 days for the pur­chase of an assault weapon.

While the mea­sure does not ban the sale of mil­i­tary grade weapons, restrict­ing their pur­chase to per­sons age twen­ty-one or high­er and requir­ing a wait­ing peri­od would be an improve­ment over the sta­tus quo. We can expect that the NRA and oth­er gun enthu­si­ast groups will fierce­ly oppose this mea­sure, but we over­came their oppo­si­tion to pass I‑594 in 2014 and I‑1491 in 2016.

The fil­ing has not yet appeared on the Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site, but we imag­ine the text will be avail­able soon. The next step will be for the mea­sure to be assigned a num­ber, then a bal­lot title. After any bal­lot title chal­lenges are resolved, sig­na­ture gath­er­ing can begin. The Alliance will have about eight to nine weeks to qual­i­fy the mea­sure for the Novem­ber 2018 bal­lot. About 350,000 sig­na­tures will need­ed to make the mea­sure eli­gi­ble for a ran­dom sam­ple check. (259,622 valid sig­na­tures are required, and a cush­ion of 25% is rec­om­mend­ed to ensure qualification).

This year, the sig­na­ture dead­line is the close of busi­ness on July 6th.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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3 replies on “Alliance for Gun Responsibility plans initiative for 2018 to restrict military grade weapons”

  1. I would be hap­py to cir­cu­late peti­tions for this ini­tia­tive. Is it 1369? When can we start?

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