The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

1639 goes into full effect

The watch is on to see if state will act to enforce measures


Washington Secretary of State

VOTES YES, COUNTIES NO: While I-1639 passed by about 60 percent of votes statewide, the counties in yellow did not pass the measure.

While Section 13 of the controversial I-1639 gun control measure requiring age requirements for gun purchases took effect Jan. 1, the balance of the measure theoretically took effect statewide Monday.

Among other things, those remaining measures require prospective purchasers of semi-automatic rifles to have completed a specific, I-1639-compliant firearm training course within the previous five years and wait nine days to take possession. The existing handgun registry will extend to semi-automatic rifle transfers and recipients will be required to pay an $18 fee to the Department of Licensing to process transfers. Also firearm owners of all types are required to store firearms locked up to state standards or risk felony-level "community endangerment" charges.

The impact is theoretical because more than half of Washington's county sheriffs-21 of them by most recent count and led by initial statements from Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer-have said they will not enforce I-1639.

An article in the Spokane Spokesman Review noted three different responses given by the sheriffs. One group has followed Songer in saying not only will they not enforce the laws but would consider preventing other agencies from doing so in in their counties.

Others, like Sheriff Brad Thurman in Cowlitz County, cite a legal challenge from the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation that the law may not be constitutional and plan to hold off enforcement until the case is resolve.

And another group, following Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, argue that the law is so vague "there is nothing to enforce."

Though the measure passed statewide on a 60-40 split, 27 of Washington's 39 counties rejected the measure.

Also going into effect Monday was House Bill 1465 which requires concealed carry pistol license holders to undergo a state background check on handgun purchases instead of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) check that has previously been conducted as a courtesy by the FBI. The FBI has now stopped that practice.


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