Clark County

Washington gun owners react to new gun-control law

Initiative 1639 raises the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (KOIN) -- On Tuesday night, Washington voters overwhelmingly passed initiative 1639, a wide ranging gun control law.

The sweeping gun-control measure raises the legal age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, just like handguns. Buyer will also need to pass an enhanced background check, take a gun training course and wait 10 days instead of the current seven to make a purchase.

Some Clark County gun shop opens have been extremely busy since 1639 passed and aren't happy with the legislation, saying it's going to create a lot more paperwork and confusion. 

Eric Hargrave, who owns a gun hobbyist shop in Washougal, is worried local authorities will be swamped with the extra paperwork, which is currently handled by federal authorities.

"What it's going to do is they are going to have to give us written approval every time someone wants to purchase a semi-automatic firearm," Hargrave said.

There's also a storage law that holds gun owners criminally responsible of a child or felon gets their hands on a gun that is not properly secured with devices like a trigger locks or a safe. 

Supporters of 1639 outspent opponents by nearly 10 to one. The late Paul Allen was a big financial supporter of the gun control initiative, which ultimately passed with more than 60% of the vote.

The National Rifle Association, which lost a suit to keep the initiative off the ballot, has already announced plans for another lawsuit aimed at stopping 1639. 


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