Washington State I-1639

Interesting development:

A ballot measure that would put new restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic rifles qualified for the November ballot Friday, but also faced a new court challenge.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman certified that supporters of Initiative 1639 gathered enough signatures to be on the general election ballot. The campaign turned in about 378,000 signatures, more than 100,000 above the minimum required.

The initiative raises the age for the purchase of a semi-automatic rifle to 21, requires a more extensive background check for handgun purchases and requires firearms owners to store weapons securely.

In announcing that the initiative had enough signatures, Wyman said there are “concerns” whether the petition sheets complied with legal requirements, but the initiative did not run afoul of any legal requirements that are under her authority.

Previously the courts said

…the court doesn’t have the legal authority to tell Wyman to reject an initiative

Wyman has the legal authority to reject initiative petitions that she determines are deficient, but otherwise would have to file them. Judicial review can only occur if she refuses to accept them, and then only if the initiative’s sponsors go to court.

Wyman is the Secretary of State. At that time Wyman said:

On Tuesday afternoon, Wyman issued a statement saying she will follow the law in evaluating “fairly and impartially” whether to accept initiatives, which include whether the petitions contain all the language required.

“State law clearly defines the authority my office has for accepting or rejecting petitions,” she said.

Then on Friday:

Secretary of State Kim Wyman certified that supporters of Initiative 1639 gathered enough signatures to be on the general election ballot. The campaign turned in about 378,000 signatures, more than 100,000 above the minimum required.

In announcing that the initiative had enough signatures, Wyman said there are “concerns” whether the petition sheets complied with legal requirements, but the initiative did not run afoul of any legal requirements that are under her authority.

So, the courts say it is up to the Secretary of State to make sure the petition is in compliance with the law (they aren’t). The SoS says she doesn’t have the authority to reject them even though they are not in compliance. Hence the initiative will be on the ballot this fall where it is expected to pass.

So, what I want to know, is the State of Washington going then claim they don’t have the authority to enforce a law that was illegally passed?

I don’t think so.

NRA-ILA and Alan Gottlieb have both filed lawsuits to stop this fraud.

11 thoughts on “Washington State I-1639

  1. I have to be missing something here.

    So. Is she saying that she has the power to determine if the petitions are in compliance and also saying she does not have the power to exclude from the ballot those initiatives whose petitions on their faces are not in compliance?
    So why is there any compliance-determination process in the first place?
    If someone submits a petition with three signatures on it, and she has said she does not have the power to exclude it from the ballot because it is not in compliance, how does she then have the power to exclude it from the ballot?

    Since the court cannot review her performance of her job, how has she not just opened the floodgates of state initiatives on the ballots with her Delphic utterance?

    I cannot believe she gets paid State tax money for pretending to be Secretary of state.

    • My understanding is that she is saying that she has the authority to reject petitions which do not have enough signatures. But she does not have the authority to judge or reject petitions which are in violation of the requirements for the text of the petition.

  2. Ugg. I read I-1639 and am sure I could not yet pass a test on it – there are too many conditions. It looks like it is designed to prevent owning a pistol or automatic rifle.

    For example, secure storage seems to mean that if a prohibited person in your household gets access and uses it then it was not secure. The list goes on and on.

    What a can of worms, catch-22s, and rules!

    • What you’re saying then is that 1639 is well conceived and well written because it will harass and confuse law-abiding gun owners while thus aiding and abetting criminals.

      • I am not sure about the well conceived and well written, but it is sure going to confuse most law-abiding gun owners and be great for lawyers, the insurance industry, and companies that offer ‘approved’ gun safety classes. It will also add to the tax burden and drive up the cost of gun ownership.

        As I said it looks like its real purpose is to discourage legal gun ownership by making it too much of a hassle to comply. Yet do little to restrict criminal activities.

        A nightmare possibility is that homeowners insurance will ask if you have any guns/ammo and …

  3. I am an Idaho resident with a WA CHL. I travel out of America and into Washington about once or twice per month for various reasons. Will your new law affect me and what I can carry, or will it only affect residents?

  4. You want to see the SoS exercise some real scrutiny and assert some authority? Hand her a few hundred thousand signatures on a petition to eliminate all gun restrictions in the state. THEN she’ll find she has all kinds of authority!

  5. Kim Wyman is out of a job after this fall. Liberals were never going to vote for her and now gun owners won’t either.

Comments are closed.