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A new law in Washington State labels all semiautomatic rifles “assault weapons.” To elaborate, Initiative Measure 1639 (I-1639) declares any rifle that ejects cartridges to be an assault weapon, critics charge.
Gun controllers apparently label all semiautomatic rifles assault weapons to make them easier to ban. As a consequence, I-1639 could be a prelude to bans on all semiautomatic weapons in Washington as well as other states.
In fact, people under 21 years of age can no longer buy many hunting and target rifles because of I-1639, the National Rifle Association (NRA) asserts. Specifically, I-1639 defines any rifle that does not contain a bolt, manual, or slide action as a “semiautomatic assault weapon.”
As a result, I-1639 makes it illegal for people under 21 to purchase most hunting and target rifles, Reason alleges. Given these circumstances, I-1639 could lead to a future ban on all semiautomatic rifles.
How Washington State Calls All Semiautomatic Rifles Assault Weapons
“I-1639 drastically rewrites statutes governing purchase, sale, and ownership of firearms in common use in the state of Washington,” NRA attorneys claim.
In particular, nearly 60% of Washington State voters passed I-1639 in the November 2018 midterm election. Notwithstanding, the NRA is charging that voters did not realize I-1639 covers all semiautomatic rifles.
Instead, voters thought they were making it illegal for people younger than 21 to purchase military rifles like the AR-15 or the AK-47. However, I-1639 supposedly covers all rifles that contain a semiautomatic mechanism.
For this reason, I-1639 could make it illegal for a 20-year-old in Washington State to buy a hunting rifle. Amazingly, the same 20-year-old can join the military and receive a free semiautomatic rifle at taxpayers’ expense.
In detail, I-1639 is a package of gun control measures that include enhanced background checks and a minimum age for rifle purchases. Additionally, I-1639 gives law enforcement the power to seize firearms from people charged with crimes. Also, I-1639 mandates “safe” storage of firearms and imposes a waiting period on semiautomatic rifle purchases.
Will Other States Declare All Semiautomatic Rifles To Be Assault Weapons?
Gun control advocates apparently believe that declaring all semiautomatic rifles as assault weapons makes it easier to ban and regulate firearms.
Particularly, gun control groups are trying to link all rifles with the weapons used in mass shootings. So, it could be easy to ban, restrict, or confiscate most rifles.
Notably, wealthy donors such as the late Microsoft founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen spent $4.3 million to pass I-1639, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Moreover, proponents reportedly told voters that I-1639 will prevent mass shootings.
Therefore, gun controllers obviously lied to voters in their efforts to pass I-1639. In the end, I-1639 will have little effect on gun violence.
To illustrate, shootings with rifles make up less than 3% of the gun homicides in the United States, Vox discloses. Consequently, I-1639’s impact on gun violence will be minimal.
Is It Constitutional To Declare Semiautomatic Rifles As Assault Weapons?
Currently, the NRA is challenging I-1639 because gun control proponents could repeat it in other states. In essence, gun controllers could write initiatives banning all semiautomatic rifles simply by labeling them as assault weapons in other states.
Because of this, the NRA and other plaintiffs are asking a United States District Court to declare I-1639 unconstitutional. In addition, the NRA claims that Washington State is violating plaintiff Luke Rettmer’s rights by denying him the right to buy a semiautomatic rifle.
To clarify, Rettmer is a resident of the state of Washington who is presently under the age of 21. In this case, the NRA asserts that I-1639 violates young people’s civil rights under the Second Amendment. The NRA further claims that I-1639 violates section 13 of Washington State’s constitution, which grants citizens the right to bear arms.
Will I-1639 Lead To Assault Weapons Bans?
Hence, the NRA’s case, Daniel L. Mitchell et. all vs State of Washington (No. 3:18 cv-5931), could lead to important gun rights rulings. Specifically, the courts will decide if a state can declare semiautomatic rifles to be assault weapons.
In particular, gun controllers could put measures like I-1639 on the ballot in other states. For example, there is a proposed constitutional amendment in Florida that bans assault weapons, Florida Politics reports.
Tellingly, the proposed amendment is being written by a group called Ban Assault Weapons Now. This amendment could be on the Florida ballots in 2020.
Second Amendment supporters need to watch this case because a ruling for Washington State could make bans on all semiautomatic rifles possible throughout the country. On the other hand, a ruling in the NRA’s favor could make it harder for gun controllers to ban and restrict semiautomatic rifles.
Police Chief Refuses To Arrest Teenagers For Carrying .22 Rifles
Now many residents of Washington State are resisting I-1639 because it violates the Second Amendment. For instance, Police Chief Loren Culp wants to declare Republic, Washington, a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City.”
That means Culp and his officers will simply ignore and not enforce I-1639 in Republic, The Seattle Times declares. Remarkably, Culp is adopting a tactic used by left-wing opponents of immigration law. Those opponents refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in so-called “Sanctuary Cities.”
Culp asked the Republic city council for an I-1639 Sanctuary City ordinance because he views I-1639 as unconstitutional. “I’m just standing up for people’s rights,” Culp tells The Seattle Times.
Moreover, Republic’s residents are scared of I-1639’s potential assault on their rural lifestyle. Notably, Republic is in Ferry County, Washington, where 73% of the population voted against I-1639.
“I had people asking if the Police Department was going to start arresting teenagers, 18, 19, 20-year-olds, carrying and using a semi-automatic .22 rifle,” Culp notes. In addition, Culp refuses to enforce I-1639 because he thinks the law is absurd.
“A semi-automatic .22 rifle is used for teaching young kids marksmanship,” Culp explains. “It’s a common thing in rural areas. It doesn’t have much of a kick. It’s a small-caliber gun. And now it’s called an assault rifle?”
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: House Democrats Plan Big Gun Control Push In 2019
Do you think that more states will begin to classify semiautomatic rifles as assault weapons? Let us know in the comments below.