Washington gun laws change for the better?

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Washington gun laws change for the better?

Avery Petek, Staff Writer

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Are Washington State gun laws changing soon?

Initiative I-1639 is a law Washington State citizens can vote on this November that proposes the legal age to purchase and own a semi-automatic rifle to change from 18 to 21 years old. It would also implement a background check for semi-automatics that would be at least as thorough as the background check when purchasing a handgun; it would make a requirement to go through a gun safety training process and make locking up gun(s) mandatory. 

Why would any regular 18-year-old need a semi-automatic rifle? If young adults under 21 really wanted to protect themselves, they can learn martial arts or wait until they are legal to buy a handgun. There is no reason a person needs a semi-automatic weapon to protect themselves in the US. 

Firearms in the hands of eighteen-year-old people just does not make sense. Sure, they might be legal adults, but according to some studies, human brains do not fully develop until much later in life.

According to the US National Library of Medicine “Following neuronal proliferation, the brain rewires itself from the onset of puberty up until 24 years old, especially in the prefrontal cortex”(Arain).

Before twenty-four, one of the brain’s decision-making areas is not fully-developed, making it dangerous for people that young to freely have semi-automatic weapons. 

Right now, no one has to legally lock up their weapons. Any unattended weapons could get into the hands of someone that was not supposed to ever be near weapons. In 2014, a 15-year-old boy in Washington State had access to his father’s gun. He took his father’s gun to school and shot 5 people. Locking up weapons, specifically guns, is a precaution that people should take to keep as many people safe as they can. 

According to Washington State Health Services, “Washington’s firearm suicide rate is higher than the U.S. rate…” (Campo).

The firearm suicide rate for Washington State is 80 percent. Eighty percent of all suicides in Washington are caused by firearms. How many of these deaths could have been prevented by people just locking up their guns? 

Some people protest this initiative because they argue that it is not going to majorly affect crimes rates.

On the National Rifle Association (NRA) web page it states “Handguns- not rifles- are used in the majority of crimes committed with a firearm in Washington” (NRA).

Rifles may not be used in the majority of crimes, but they are used in some crimes. It does not matter how many lives the initiative is saving by passing this law as long as it saves ONE LIFE. 

Voting “YES” to Initiative I-1639 is the only surefire way to help prevent semi-automatic rifles from landing in the hands of people who should not have them whether for age reasons or just overall safety of themselves or others. 

No one knows the next time Washingtonians will get the chance to vote on something that could potentially change so much for this state. It is time to vote “YES” to changing Washington’s gun laws for the better. 

Cites Used: 

https://ballotpedia.org/Washington_Initiative_1639,_Changes_to_Gun_Ownership_and_Purchas e_Requirements_Measure_(2018) 







https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=305 1 




https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/bitstream/handle/11343/118546/Proofs%20for%20final% 20correcting%20AMH%2010%281%29%203-16.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 


https://www.surveymonkey.com/analyze/I4s8_2F4MwMWuZJ2L91n7FJ7HF5YdAkxUR5ag_2 FR_2BiHBgA_3D&tab_clicked=1