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Gun bill back on ballot


August 29, 2018

The Washington State Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon’s ruling on Initiative 1639 means the initiative will go before voters this November.

The controversial bill would raise the legal age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21 and impose safety restrictions on home storage, among other provisions.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman had certified I-1639 to appear on the ballots because it met the qualifications the Legislature has empowered the Secretary to enforce, including having the number of submitted signatures and containing certain language on each petition. However, Secretary Wyman also expressed significant concerns over the formatting of the petitions.

Dixon’s ruling had agreed with those concerns. He faulted the formatting as well, saying that it meant the petition sheets failed to include the “readable, full, true, and correct copy of the proposed measure” required under RCW 29A.72.100.

Friday, the Supreme Court found that the Secretary “has no mandatory duty to not certify an initiative petition based on the readability, correctness, or formatting of the proposed measure printed on the back of the petitions.”

Wyman thanked the Court for issuing a quick order in the case.

“This clears the way for our preparations to put I-1639 before voters in time for ballots to be printed,” Wyman said. “My priority is protecting Washington citizens’ right to make informed use of our state constitution’s initiative process. Our voters deserve full and clear information about what they’re asked to sign onto.”


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