Research over Rhetoric
Just like the two previous general elections of 2014 and 2016, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility has placed a voter initiative on this year’s general election ballot. This year’s initiative, I-1639, is focused on four main areas of enhanced gun safety: raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21; creating an enhanced background checks for purchasers of semi-automatic rifles; requiring completion of a firearm safety training course within five years; and creating statewide standards for dangerous firearm access prevention. This is an initiative that is specifically designed to keep our communities and state safe from gun violence.
But just like the previous two general elections, the opposition to I-1639 is spinning half-truths and spreading fear in hopes that voters will fail to pass the initiative.
In 2014 the opposition to I-594 (universal background checks) warned voters that new background check requirements would interfere with the rights of responsible gun owners and make private/online/gun show sales burdensome and difficult. Instead, in just the first 16 months of the law being in place, over 10,000 private sale background checks occurred. These background checks helped make our communities safer, thanks to voter-approved I-594.
In 2016 opposition to I-1491 (extreme-risk protection orders) warned that the law would be abused by individuals who disagree with the Second Amendment based on the belief that gun ownership makes you a danger to yourself or others. Since the initiative went into law these fear tactics have proved irrelevant.
King County courts have successfully processed applications for 30 extreme-risk protection orders since the law was enacted and Marysville police likely prevented a large-scale massacre at the Tulalip Casino similar to the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017. The extreme-risk protection orders have given law enforcement the ability to better serve and protect our communities.
This year, the opposition to gun safety measures attempts to paint a picture of I-1639 as only supported by “liberal Seattle voters.” Not true: My friend Tim, a gun-owning father of two from Thurston County, is one of the many voters from across the state who stand firmly in support of the initiative. “I’m a gun owner and this initiative will require things of me that I already do. None of the tyranny and abuse that was predicted during previous ballot initiatives has occurred. I’m in favor of I-1639 and continued gun safety efforts.”
Before you cast your ballot this fall I encourage you to do your research and make an informed decision instead of simply accepting the rehashed and fear-based talking points of the opposition. Understanding what the initiative aims to do and the benefits it promises for our communities will allow you to cast your ballot with confidence, regardless of how you choose to vote.
Meredith Browand is a mother and an activist who lives in Purdy.