Evergreen State Second Amendment activists are busy mounting opposition to a sweeping gun control initiative that backers have admitted is “a blueprint that other states – from California to Florida and Virginia – can use to reduce gun violence without worrying about whether Congress will act,” thus making this measure a potential problem for every gun owner in the country, if it passes.
The grassroots campaign against the multi-faceted Initiative 1639 is gaining momentum as many in the gun rights community have gotten artfully creative with opposition materials, including some eye-opener artwork appearing on social media. Some of these memes take direct issue with components of the measure that may be escaping attention because they’re buried in the 30 pages of initiative language.
One advertisement-quality illustration shows a woman with a hand over her mouth declaring “I shouldn’t have to waive my HIPAA healthcare privacy rights to seek protection from my abuser.” This refers to Section 7 of the measure, at the bottom of Page 12, which reads:
“A signed application to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the health care authority, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release, to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency, information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.”—Initiative 1639, Section 7
According to the Gun Rights Coalition’s Facebook page, posters and other materials are showing up at Washington state gun stores, and there is a strong grassroots education effort underway. A startling number of gun owners apparently are unaware of the measure, and when advised of its contents, they jump into the resistance effort.
But the admission that I-1639 – which would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-auto rifle to 21, and include commonly-owned .22-caliber rimfire rifles in its broad definition of “semiautomatic assault rifles,” according to critics – that it will provide something of a political road map for gun control groups in other states should raise alarms among gun owners all over the map.
Here’s the alarming language that defines a “semiautomatic assault rifle” that has Washington gun owners alarmed:
“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge. “Semiautomatic assault rifle” does not include antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.”—Initiative 1639, Section 16, paragraph 25
In a possibly related development, the Washington Department of Licensing this week reported that there are now 594,812 active concealed pistol licenses in the state, a new record. That number represents a spike of 6,493 CPLs since Aug. 1. An uptick in CPLs often times translates to activism rather than apathy, and the fact that this initiative is on the ballot could be stirring gun owners enough to vote, even if it is on just this one issue.