Share

Washington bans anyone under 21 from buying assault rifles

Share

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington on Tuesday joined a handful of other states that ban anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault rifle after voters passed a sweeping firearms measure in November that has drawn a court challenge from gun-rights advocates.

The ballot initiative seeks to curb gun violence by toughening background checks for people buying assault rifles, increasing the age limit to buy those firearms and requiring the safe storage of all guns. Only the age-limit portion of the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1; the rest becomes law on July 1.

Kristen Ellingboe, a spokeswoman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said the initiative was one of the most comprehensive gun-violence prevention measures to pass in the United States. It specifically targeted “semi-automatic assault rifles” in response to mass shootings across the country, she said.

“We’ve seen that assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings, and when they’re used, more people are killed and injured,” Ellingboe said.

Fifty-nine percent of Washington voters approved Initiative 1639 in the Nov. 6 general election.

Trending:
Video Shows Al Sharpton Forced to Shut Down Border Press Conference When Protesters Descend: 'Get Out of Texas'

“We’ve see time and again that Washington voters want action to prevent gun violence in our state,” Ellingboe said. “They showed that again by supporting 1639 by a wide margin.”

Opponents have sued to block it.

“Starting today, young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 will have their rights to purchase semi-automatic rifles stripped away,” said Dave Workman, a spokesman for the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation.

The federal lawsuit says the measure violates the Second and 14th amendments of the Constitution as well as gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are firearms dealers in Spokane and Vancouver, a 19-year-old competitive shooter, a 19-year-old in the Army Reserves, a 20-year-old recreational shooter, the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he “looks forward to representing the people of the state of Washington in court against the NRA.”

“The gun lobby is trying to thwart the will of nearly 60 percent of Washingtonian voters who supported common sense gun reform in our state,” he said in an email.

The full measure, when it goes into effect later this year, will expand the background check process to ensure that vetting for rifle purchases is the same as for buying pistols.

Now, people in Washington who buy long guns are run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Background checks for handgun sales are done by local law enforcement agencies that can access NICS as well as more detailed records that might expose mental health issues or harder-to-find criminal records. And you must be 21 to purchase a pistol.

“This will update Washington state law so the requirements to purchase semi-automatic assault rifle will match handguns,” Ellingboe said.

Related:
Biden's Department of Homeland Security Reveals the Fate of Around 12,400 Migrants Who Illegally Crossed the Border

In most states, including over the border in Idaho and Oregon, you must be 18 to buy an assault rifle. But Republican-dominant Florida passed a law after a school shooting to increase the age limit to 21.

Nikolas Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the assault rifle he used to kill 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last February.

Four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New York — also prohibit anyone under 21 from buying all firearms.

Workman of Second Amendment Foundation says Washington’s measure will take away firearms from law-abiding residents who can easily pass multiple background checks. It will impair public safety and embolden criminals while placing restrictions on people who already legally own semi-automatic rifles, Workman said.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation