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WA – GUN CONTROL – Federal judge upholds I-1639, Washington state’s voter-approved gun regulations

A federal judge Monday upheld a sweeping set of firearms regulations approved by Washington voters in 2018, ruling against a legal challenge brought by gun-right advocates. Initiative 1639 among other things raised the legal purchase age of a semiautomatic rifle to 21 and put in place enhanced background checks for their purchase. It also barred the sale of such rifles to out-of-state residents. While voters passed the measure with nearly 60% support, gun-rights advocates have fiercely opposed it. At the same time, some sheriffs in Washington counties have said they wouldn’t enforce the law because they believed it was unconstitutional. But U.S. District Court of Western Washington Judge Ronald Leighton cited current federal law banning the sale of handguns to people under 21, as well as state laws going back to the 19th century that have imposed age restrictions on purchases. Because, for much of the nation’s history, people between the age of 18 and 20 were considered minors, several courts have ruled that age restrictions fall outside the Second Amendment’s protections, he wrote. “These authorities demonstrate that reasonable age restrictions on the sale, possession, or use of firearms have an established history in this country,” Leighton wrote in the order. “The extension of Washington’s age restrictions” for semiautomatic rifles “is ultimately a distinction without a difference.” The lawsuit by several plaintiffs, including two Washington firearms dealers, the National Rifle Association and the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation argued that I-1639 violates the Second Amendment, for barring 18- to 20-year-olds from buying semiautomatic rifles.  [full article]

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