Before all of the rhetoric and fear-laden ad campaigns that are both for and against this measure begin, we, the Board of the Willapa Harbor Gun Club, who have shown leadership around responsible ownership and safety since the club’s inception, wanted to also show leadership here by informing our community about the facts of I-1639 so that you can make an informed decision about how this measure will impact your lives.

This measure raises the age for anyone to purchase a firearm to 21 and redefines what it means for a rifle to be considered an “assault rifle.” The new definition will now include any firearm which uses energy from a spent round to chamber another round, regardless of caliber or the design of the firearm. That means a 10/22, something most young people use to shoot a .22 round would now be considered an “assault rifle.” So, regardless of design, any semi-automatic rifle, including shotguns, would, under this initiative, be an “assault rifle.”

To purchase any “assault rifle” the purchaser would have to provide the seller of notification from the chief law enforcement officer in the jurisdiction where you reside, that you are eligible to posses the firearm. The seller would have to verify that you have completed a firearms safety class within the last five years, with a certificate that the course taught proper storage, the dangers of suicide, and you received a cautionary statement about the dangers of firearms possession. The firearm would have to be sold with a trigger guard or locking storage device and notification that improper storage could result in a class C felony offense. There will be a fee through the Department of Licensing to ensure compliance with this measure, and the legislation permits an increase in the fee to cover the cost to administer this legislation.

While we are discouraged by many aspects of this measure, in particular the definition and massive expansion of what it means to call something an “assault rifle,” we want to encourage everyone to become informed about responsible gun ownership and use and exercise caution when storing a firearm.

Firearm ownership is an important right, that right comes with responsibilities, including the responsibility to know and understand the laws, and those laws which are proposed.

Willapa Harbor Gun Club Board

Dick Hagain Jr., Dwaine Rogers, Charles Hood, Richard Ekman, George Hernandez, Mel Kokko, Mike Roberts and Lorretta Erickson