BELLEVUE, WA – A Thurston County Superior Court judge this morning disqualified a Washington State gun control initiative because it was improperly presented to voters by not following guidelines set down in state election law.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said the judge ruled properly and he is hopeful the state Supreme Court will uphold the decision. Gottlieb filed one of two lawsuits against Initiative 1639 as a private citizen and Washington State voter. A second similar lawsuit was filed by the National Rifle Association and Spokane resident Robin Ball. The ruling also applies to that lawsuit.
The gun control initiative was sponsored by Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which spent more than $3 million to pay for the signature gathering effort.
“A few billionaires donated millions of dollars to buy the signatures to get this fraudulent initiative on the ballot,” Gottlieb observed. “But they couldn’t buy the Court.”
Under the initiative, young adults age 18-20 would be prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights to buy semi-automatic modern sporting rifles. The measure also would classify popular .22-caliber rimfire semi-auto rifles as “assault weapons,” and there would be a $25 fee to do registration paperwork, which opponents consider a tax on the exercise of a constitutional right.
The main problem with the initiative as printed on the back of each petition sheet was that it did not contain underlines showing proposed new additions to state gun law, nor were there strike-throughs showing what parts of existing law would be removed. As a result, plaintiffs argued, people who signed the petitions could not possibly know what the initiative would do.
“The initiative process has no place for deceit and deception,” Gottlieb said. “The so-called Alliance for Gun Responsibility acted totally irresponsible in circulating this initiative to the voters and it not only cost them millions of wasted dollars but their credibility as well.”