Washington Bans Anyone Under 21 From Buying Assault Rifle


On Tuesday, Washington joined several other states and agreed to ban anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a semi-automatic assault rifle. In November voters passed a stringent firearms law that gun-rights advocates have brought to court.

The ballot initiative tries to stop gun violence by making it more difficult for people to purchase assault rifles by making background checks more stringent, increasing the age of those who are able to purchase firearms and make it mandatory for an individual to have a safe storage area for any firearm. On Jan. 1 the age portion of the law goes into effect while the others start on July 1.

A spokesperson for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Kristen Ellingboe, stated that the initiative has been one of the important and comprehensive preventions of gun-violence measures to be passed in the U.S.A. The initiative specifically went after ‘semi-automatic assault rifles.’ This was in direct response to the multiple mass shootings in the United States.

Ellingboe stated that assault rifles are the weapon generally used in mass shootings, due to the nature of the weapon more individuals are hurt or killed by them.

Initiative 1639 was approved of Fifty-Nine percent of the voters of Washinton in the general election which took place on Nov. 6.

Ellingboe state that we keep seeing Washington voters what to stop gun violence, which means making it more difficult to obtain semi-automatic rifles.   They proved it by voting for 1639.

Those against the bill have already sued.

A spokesperson for the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, Dave Workman stated that beginning today Washington Bans Anyone Under 21 From Buying Assault Rifles which means that people between the ages of 18-20 will now have their rights to be able to buy a semi-automatic rifle taken away.

The Lawsuit filed in federal court says this measure violates the second and 14th amendments as well as the gun seller’s rights located under the Commerce Clause.  It is also the right of the individual to obtain rifles.

The plaintiffs in the case are several people who sell firearms in Vancouver and Spokane, a competitive shooter who is 19, an Army reserves individual who is 19, a recreational shooter who is 20, the NRA, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that he is looking forward to representing the people against the NRA.  The gun lobby is trying to squash the outcome of what 60 percent of the voters who supported and voted for gun reform and to ban automatic rifles.

The entire measure will be in place later this year and it will expand background checks to ensure that the same standards that one must follow to purchase a pistol go for purchasing a rifle.

With the new law, those who reside in Washington who want to buy automatic rifles will have their name put through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Background checks for a handgun will be performed by local law enforcement who will have access to the NCIS.  These records are more detailed and may expose if the individual has mental health problems or criminal records that are more difficult to find. Also, the age limit will be raised to 21-years-old to buy a pistol.

Elligboe state that the Washinton law will be updated so that the requirements to purchase and obtain a semi-automatic rifle will be the same to obtain a handgun.

Generally, the age to buy an assault rifle is 18, including the states that border Washington which is Oregon and Idaho.  Florida, which is primarily Republican based recently passed a law to increase the age to 21 to buy an assault rifle. This was done after a school shooting.

Last February, Nikolas Cruz was 18-years-old when he was legally able to purchase an assault rifle which he then used to shoot down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida.

Presently, four other states which include Illinois, Vermont, New York, and Hawaii do not permit anybody under the age of 21 from purchasing firearms which includes the assault-rifle.

The Second Amendment Foundation states that the measures taken in Washington will take firearms away from responsible gun owners who can pass a background check.  It will make it make criminals want to obtain weapons even more and place restrictions on those who own a semi-automatic rifle legally.

While recently Washington has banned anyone under the age of 21 from buying assault rifles, the court battle will continue to wage on between the NRA, gun enthusiasts and those who want reasonable gun control.

Written By Barbara Sobel


ABC News: Washington bans anyone under 21 from buying assault rifles
The Seattle Times: Washington state voters approved new gun regulations in I-1639. Here’s what the law will do.
The Hill: Washington state voters approved new gun regulations in I-1639. Here’s what the law will do.

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