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City urges stance against I-1639 gun control measure


Last updated 3/27/2019 at 9:28am

Grand Coulee wants more government bodies in the state of Washington to stick up for gun rights in response to Initiative 1639, which passed in November 2018, and has been taking effect in stages since the new year.

I-1639 took effect on Jan. 1, and raises the age limit for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. Beginning July 1, it requires purchasers to pass an enhanced background check, show proof of firearms training, and wait 10 days before getting the gun.

The new law also makes gun owners guilty of “community endangerment” if their gun is not properly stored and is accessible by a child or by anyone who then uses the gun in a crime.

The law passed in November with the support of 60 percent of Washington voters.

Sixty-eight percent of Grant County voters voted against the initiative.

The city of Grand Coulee had previously considered passing a resolution refusing to enforce I-1639, then instead considered passing a resolution coming out in support of the second amendment of the United States Constitution in particular.

The Second Amendment, adopted Dec. 15, 1791, reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Now the city has voted to draft a letter to Grant County commissioners, urging them to come out “in support of the Constitution, specifically as it relates to firearms issues at this point in time,” as Councilmember Tom Poplawski worded it in his motion at the Grand Coulee City Council at their March 19 meeting.

The motion passed unanimously.

Grand Coulee Mayor Paul Townsend cited Lincoln County commissioners passing a similar resolution as motivation to urge Grant County to do the same.

“I just feel we have to make a voice on this,” Townsend said. “The more people we have on this, saying what we need to say, instead of waiting to see what will happen… I feel like, just sitting idly by, we’re going to get steamrolled on this.”

“I think we’re all in agreement on this,” Poplawski said. “We look at this as being a constitutional issue. I would be in favor of sending a letter to our county commissioners that they support and do likewise. If they don’t respond in a reasonable amount of time, I would then propose we do our own resolution in support of the Constitution.”

“I agree,” Councilmember Tammara Byers said. “I think the focus needs to be taking an oath to defend the Constitution. It’s important.”


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