Gun Laws


Porter Kamerath, Reporter

Initiative 1639 was just passed, and is now an official law in Washington State. There are lots of controversial opinions all across the school, and state, about this new law on guns, and the effect it will have on our state.

I-1639 is about changing the gun law here in Washington state, and it is now an official law. The ballot summary of this new law was, “This measure would require increased background checks, firearm safety training, and waiting periods before semiautomatic assault rifles may be purchased or delivered. It would impose age limitations on who may purchase or possess certain firearms, including prohibiting firearm purchases by persons under age 21. It would require certain secure firearm storage or trigger-locks, and criminalize certain firearm storage if it results in unauthorized use. It would enact other firearm-related requirements, including certain warnings, recordkeeping, and fees.” This new law targets four things. It changes the age of purchasing a firearm to 21, when it used to be 18. It also changes the requirements to purchasing a firearm, specifically changing background checks, and also making it much harder to get semi automatic assault rifles legally. It also has created requirements for storing your guns, and if your gun gets used illegally, you will be punished.

Why does it matter though? What impact will these changes have on the community? According to Mr. Schaeffer, the Civics teacher at OHS, “So, I think the goal of this was to try to make schools safer. and raising the age, potentially could have that impact. So the impact it’s going to have, we could speculate all we want but nobody really knows, it could potentially reduce the number of weapons in the hands of 18 to 20 year olds, who shouldn’t have them potentially.” These changes, aren’t a 100% chance of making a huge difference. But it does have the potential to do that. It could possibly make it so that the school here in Washington are safer from gunman.

There are many different opinions and feelings towards this new law. Michael Moore, the President of the Young Conservatives Club, says, “Well I disagree with it thoroughly. I just don’t think they should be able to put a time on when you can buy something or not. It’s your second amendment. They can’t put a regulation on your freedom of speech, so why should they put  a regulation on your freedom to bear arms.” According to Moore, the new law is not constitutional, it goes against the 2nd amendment. He feels, It infringes on your right to bear arms, which U.S. citizens have. When furthering why he dislikes the new law, Moore claims, “Not only is this making it harder for the good people to get guns, or making good people have to do bad things to get guns. It’s also making it, where the bad people have to do even sketchier things to get guns. Illegal firearm sales are going to go way up, it’s going to be a way more profitable industry. Illegal weapons coming from the south border, even the north border, is going to be way more profitable.” In Moore’s opinion, having this new gun law, will actually further illegal gun activity. Illegal guns will be sold at higher prices before, because of this new law. It will make it also harder for someone who wants to purchase a gun, to do so legally.

On the contrary, Claire Christensen, a senior at OHS, believes that the new gun law is indeed constitutional, who describes this new law as, “an important step, even if it oversteps some bounds.” She says, “ If we follow the Heller decision, the majority ruling did say states must let citizens have guns and must regulate those guns. Even if the Heller decision isn’t applicable in general, as it only pertains to DC, it could be seen as a framework. I do believe it’s constitutional because it follows the Heller decision.” She is referring to the District of Columbia vs. Heller Supreme Court Case. The decision of this case stated that D.C.’s ban on handguns went against the second amendment. According to Christensen, this new law is indeed constitutional, due to the fact that it follows the guidelines from this court case. Christensen also later states, “I believe we must follow it, however the ‘necessary and proper’ clause overrules the idea that guns should be unregulated. I would like to see it be updated, amended, during my lifetime for these new, modern, more dangerous times.” Christensen believes that this new law is important, and that it can make an impact on the world we live in today, for the better. She understands it’s not perfect at the moment, but she hopes that as time goes on, that it will adjust, and eventually become what she hopes it to be.

With this new law comes many changes. There are adjustments that are being made in the attempt to make our communities safer, and some truly believe that it is accomplishing this, while others do not.