• Debate intensifies as gun safety initiative delivers signatures for ballot

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    OLYMPIA, Wash. - Sponsors of I-1639 say they've gathered 375,000 signatures to put the gun safety initiative on the ballot.

    “Enough of this madness. Let's have some sensible gun law,” said volunteer Bharat Shyam at a rally just before the last of the signatures was delivered to the secretary of state’s office. It takes 267,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. 

    Paul Kramer's son, Will, survived at shooting that killed three of his friends in Mukilteo.

    “No kid should have to worry about being shot, when they get together with their friends,” he said.

    >> Read more: Paull Allen donates $1M to gun reform ballot initiative 

    The initiative Raises the Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Rifles from 18 to 21 -- as same as handguns currently, it requires enhanced background checks also same as handguns, it requires a firearm safety course and safe storage of firearms.

    We watched as Jolean Ridgway took target practice at the Glacier Gun Club in Olympia where she works.

    She's a widow and single mother of two.

    “Being a widow and single mom, it terrifies me knowing that somebody could be in my house and I would have to fumble around with a safe just to get my gun to protect my kids.”

    Raising the age to legally buy a gun is also a concern. We asked why a teenager who’s not old enough to buy a beer should be allowed to buy a semi-automatic rifle.

    “You can go into the military at 18 so why should that change?” Ridgway responded. 

    “Brain development shows that the human brain in terms of judgment does not actually develop fully until the 20's,” says Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “This is one small step that we can take that we know could have prevented a number of shooting across our country,” she said.

    In a statement late today, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said state law would not allow her to keep the initiative off the ballot based on the opponents’ claim that it is improperly formatted. 


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