Washington’s new gun laws to remain in effect; federal judge upholds I-1639


OLYMPIA, Wash. — A federal judge has ruled that Washington’s new gun laws are constitutional.

Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that Initiative 1639 will remain in effect.

Voters approved I-1639 with 60 percent of the popular vote in November 2018.

The initiative made several changes to Washington laws on semiautomatic rifle purchases, including strengthening background checks, requiring waiting periods for purchases of semiautomatic assault rifles and banning purchases to those younger than 21.

The recent ruling is a result of a 2019 lawsuit filed by several plaintiffs, including the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson defended the voter initiative against legal challenges, as he does with all voter initiatives.

“An overwhelming majority of Washington voters approved Initiative 1639,” Ferguson said. “The NRA continues to challenge voter-approved, common sense gun reforms – and they continue to lose. I will not allow the NRA to undermine the will of the voters. If they choose to appeal, we will beat them again.”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the vote passed with 50 percent.