New gun restrictions coming in spite of eastern Washington voters

New gun restrictions coming in spite of eastern Washington voters

After three lawsuits, including one reversed by the U.S. Supreme court in August, initiative 1639 is bringing increased gun regulations to the evergreen state.

The controversial measure requires increased background checks, training, age-limitations, and waiting periods to buy semi-automatic rifles along with other provisions.

60 percent of Washington voters supported the change, but ballots on our side of the state looked a little different.

Benton and Franklin county voters both voted against the measure at 61 percent.

Veteran and firearms trainer Steve Krause says he's nervous about what comes next.

"Oh it's going to be an absolute mess," he said. "I'm going to follow the law, don't get me wrong, but I don't agree with it and I think there's a lot of things that come into play that people aren't going to be happy about."

Those in favor of the initiative say it will make schools and children safer, but Krause says it goes too far.

Initiative 1639 raises the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to adults over 21, a 10 day waiting period, training and enhanced background checks.

"We're not against background checks," Krause clarified. "But this is a slippery slope. Anything from an old .22 semi-automatic rifle is an assault-rifle now."

The business owner says it's trying to do too many things at once.

He also worries about his neighbors second amendment rights, as well as their rights to privacy.

Krause said background checks digging into private medical records violate HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) safeguards.

"We all have had bad times," he said, listing those who visit a counselor or veterans returning from combat required to visit a therapist by the VA. "But who's making the decision on the other end?"

Krause also thinks the vote was skewed by folks on the other side of the state.

People with different concerns and priorities than those of us in eastern Washington.

"People on this side of the state feed their families," he sighed. " What use is making a .22 semi-automatic rifle an assault rifle?"

He says folks are often confused, mistaking automatic rifles with assault rifles used in recent mass-shootings.

He said many Washington gun owners are left asking, 'What's next?'

"I've had many phone calls this morning of people asking, 'what does this mean?' Nobody can answer that question yet cause we don't know."

Krause thinks there are too many unknowns and 1639 never should have made it on the ballot.

"We threw something on a ballot and passed it."

Most of Initiative 1639 takes effect July 1, 2019, though the age-restrictions preventing certain age groups from buying firearms start at the beginning of 2019.

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