Restrictions on semiautomatic rifles pass with I-1639

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -Residents of Washington will face more scrutiny during the purchase of semiautomatic rifles.

According to The Spokesman-Review, Initiative 1639 was easily passing Tuesday despite opposition from many Eastern Washington counties. The initiative will put new restrictions on the sale of semiautomatic rifles and required guns kept in homes to be safely stored.

Starting in December, buyers of semiautomatic rifles will have to be at least 21 years old, rather than the current age limit 18. Buyers will also have to pass more thorough background checks. 

Also, under the measure, anyone who leaves a firearm in a place where a prohibited person can access it would be found guilty of a class C felony.

The ballot title for the initiative refers to “semiautomatic assault rifles,” however, the actual text of the measure makes no distinction between rifles with certain military features like pistol grips or flash suppressors and more standard hunting rifles.

So-called assault rifles have featured in many mass shootings, including the recent Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh.

Supporters say the restrictions put semiautomatic rifles on par with handguns in terms of regulations. Opponents said it was unconstitutional and age discrimination against people old enough to marry, sign contracts and enlist in the military. 

Opponents of the initiative had also promised to mount another opposition if it passed.

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