Gun safety initiative supporters launch final push as ballots go out

SEATTLE — Supporters of gun safety Initiative 1639 rallied today because ballots will arrive in voters' mailboxes as early as tomorrow.

Their special guest was former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed by gun violence in January 2011.

“Do you have the courage to fight? Stand with me. Vote, vote, vote,” Giffords said.

If passed, the initiative would raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, the same as pistols currently. It would require enhanced background checks and safe storage of weapons.

Paul Kramer is the citizen sponsor. His son was nearly killed in July 2016, when he was shot by a 19-year-old who had just legally purchased an AR-15.

“If Initiative 1639 had been in place then, he would not have been able to purchase that semi-automatic assault rifle. My son likely would have been spared unimaginable pain and grief.” Kramer said

But four major Washington law enforcement associations representing thousands of officers oppose I-1639.

Scroll down to continue reading

More news from KIRO 7


The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs said, “Initiative 1639 contains provisions that are in clear violation of both state and federal individual constitutional rights, which, as law enforcement officers, we are sworn to uphold."

Gifford's husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, travels the country with her, promoting tighter gun controls.

“We often see, with law enforcement, that they, you know range the spectrum on this issue. Often rank-and-file cops can line up behind the National Rifle Association. Same is true with sheriffs, who must win an election and who are often rural,” Kelly said.

A Crosscut/Elway Poll shows that I-1639 has nearly 60% support as the campaign goes into its final weeks.

Comments on this article