Bill to repeal new gun initiative moves forward in Olympia


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    KENNEWICK, Wash. — The fight to repeal gun Initiative 1639 took another step forward Tuesday with a new bill in the House - and it all started with a Kennewick stay-at-home mom who spoke up to lawmakers.

    “Our system only works when the governed reach out to the governing,” said Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane).

    It all started with a Facebook group created by Radona Devereaux after I-1639 passed in November. Now House Bill 2103 is in motion.

    If passed, the bill would repeal the controversial I-1639, which became law earlier this year. The measure, among other things, makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy a semi-automatic firearm, requires more extensive background checks and requires the safe storage of firearms.

    More than a dozen sheriffs and police chiefs, as well as gun dealers, have said they won’t uphold the law, which they consider to be unconstitutional.

    “I would encourage citizens to get involved regardless of if they're liberal, conservative. If they are passionate about something, get involved,” Devereaux said.

    Devereaux held protests in the Tri-Cities, did her research, then reached out to state lawmakers.

    “It is the great part of our system that normal folks can just come down to Olympia, bring a problem, talk to their elected representatives and then turn those ideas into action and into legislation,” said Rep. Shea.

    Devereaux wrote up a proposal and approached Rep. Shea.

    “As a public servant myself, it's always an honor to have a great idea come to my desk,” Shea said.

    According to Devereaux, he took her proposal, made some changes, and ended up writing a bill.

    Shea, who represents the Spokane area, says he's received thousands of emails from people opposing I-1639.

    “A large majority of rural, eastern Washington did not vote for that measure, and it doesn’t represent the values of that area,” Shea said.

    And as a constitutional lawyer, he took issue with the initiative himself.

    “We just agree with the view that I-1639 is unconstitutional,” said Shea.

    The new House bill repealing I-1639 reportedly has bipartisan support and more sponsors may be added until Wednesday at 2 p.m. Rep. Shea says the next step is to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

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