New Washington gun laws spark defiance
SEATTLE — Washington rolled out a new law barring anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a semi-automatic rifle on Tuesday.
Last fall, voters across the state passed tighter gun restrictions as part of Initiative 1639. The measure, which supporters said was created to cut back on gun violence, does three major things: increase the age limits for the purchase of these long guns, tightens background checks for people buying assault weapons and has a list of requirements for the safe storage of firearms.
Only restrictions went into law Tuesday. The other two parts of the law don’t go into effect until July 1, said Tallman Trask, policy and advocacy director for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
But in Lynnwood Tuesday, Tiffany Teasdale said the law doesn’t make sense.
Teasdale and her staff at Lynnwood Gun are continuing to sell semi-automatic rifles to customers under the age of 21.
“It’s a feel-good law, that’s what it is,” Teasdale said about Initiative 1639.
Teasdale said she has consulted with lawyers about the language of the law. She said she has also reached out to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office, but hasn’t heard back.
“The term semi-automatic assault rifle doesn’t exist for another six months,” she said. “How are they telling us we can’t sell something that doesn’t exist?”
Teasdale said she sells a number of “long guns,” including AR-15s.
“We can still sell 18 to 20-year-old’s AR-15s and semi-automatic shotguns until June 30th at 11:59 p.m.,” she said.
Staff at Lynwood Gun said a flurry of people 21 and younger have come in over the last few days to buy semi-automatic rifles.
“People are trying to get into the firearms before all of the laws change,” Teasdale said.
But Teasdale isn’t the only one who is standing firm against the new law.
In both Lewis and Ferry counties law enforcement have said they won’t enforce the new gun regulations.
"We took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington and this completely files in the face of both the US and the state Constitution,” said Loren Culp, who is Chief of Police in Republic, Wash.
Culp said the law is another example of “big cities” telling towns like his what to do.
But Trask, with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said Tuesday that the new laws are clear.
“This is the first part of our comprehensive gun violence prevention initiative that’s going to make major changes in Washington State’s law and do some big reforms,” Trask said.