Washington high court reverses I-1639 decision, measure back on ballot
By Chris Eger
I-1639, backed by gun control advocates and funded primarily by a handful of wealthy donors, will be headed to voters in November despite questions over the petitions used in the signature-gathering process. (Photo: AGR)
Washington’s high court brushed aside a lower court’s ruling invalidating signatures gathered for I-1639 to expand laws about gun buying and storage due to questionable petitions.
In a unanimous ruling on Friday, the Washington Supreme Court said state law allows the court to weigh in on ballot petitions only in cases regarding counting signatures and not how petitions are structured.
The ruling reverses a lower court’s decision that agreed with gun rights supporters who said proposed changes to the law were written in too small a type and that changes were not clearly marked.
The 30-page ballot referendum aims to mandate new guidelines for semi-auto rifles under state law including raising the buying age from 18 to 21, adding fees, training requirements, waiting periods and additional background checks going beyond federal guidelines.
Barring further legal actions, I-1639 will be on the November ballot in Washington, leaving gun rights groups to sway voters against it before election day — a prospect with a poor track record along the deep-blue I-5 corridor —