I-1639 approved by voters

Mukilteo’s Kramer, the initiative’s Citizen Sponsor, thrilled with outcome
By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 21, 2018
Photo by: Beacon file photo Paul Kramer

Ever since his son was shot by an AR-15-style rifle in July of 2016, Mukilteo’s Paul Kramer has been extremely vocal in his fight to increase gun safety in Washington.

Kramer’s son, Will, was one of four Kamiak graduates shot at a house party in Mukilteo on July 30, 2016. Three of Will’s friends were killed at the party.

The shooter, 19 at the time of the shooting, used the AR-15-style rifle he legally purchased from Cabela’s in Tulalip.

Kramer spoke to the state Legislature in February about raising the age of purchasing an assault rifle from 18 to 21. He was also a speaker at the March for Our Lives in Everett, and at Never Again: Mukilteo, an antigun violence rally at Lighthouse Park.

Kramer was also one of a handful of citizens to speak at the July 16 Mukilteo City Council meeting, where the council passed a gun safety resolution initially proposed by Councilmember Richard Emery.

The resolution was crafted to support a “holistic approach to ending gun violence,” and called for legislative and community actions such as universal background checks for all gun sales; training for public employees, school personnel and volunteers in Adverse Childhood Experiences; additional school resource officers and mental health counselors in schools; and beginning a gun buyback program in Mukilteo, along with other items.

Kramer recently hit the campaign trail as the Citizen Sponsor for Initiative 1639, which would implement restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms, including raising the minimum age to purchase assault rifles to 21, and increasing background checks, waiting periods and storage requirements.

As the first wave of election results came in from the Nov. 6 election, Kramer said he was elated to see the initiative was supported by a majority of Washington voters, at a clip of just over 59 percent.

“On Nov. 6, 2018, Washington state voters made a strong statement in support of gun violence prevention measures by passing Initiative 1639,” Kramer said. “Washington state voters clearly want this package of reasonable, common-sense measures enacted into law for the increased safety of the general public.

“As the Citizen Sponsor of the initiative, I am delighted with the returns showing such strong support. It shows that people want to see these changes in our laws, in order to reduce firearm deaths and save lives.”

When Kramer spoke in front of the state Legislature, he told state lawmakers that if SB 6620, which would have raised the age of purchase for assault rifles to 21, had passed, the Mukilteo shooting wouldn’t have happened. Kramer echoed those sentiments in relation to I-1639.

“If this initiative had been in place in 2016, the Mukilteo shooter would not have been able to legally purchase the rifle he used to kill Anna Bui, Jake Long, and Jordan Ebner, and severely injure my son, Will Kramer,” he said. “With this initiative enacted into law soon, we will have reduced the potential for shootings like this in the future.

“The enhanced background check process will help ensure that semi-automatic rifles are kept out of dangerous hands.”

A key aspect of the initiative is in regards to safe storage of guns. Under the new law, it would be a criminal offense for citizens to store or leave a firearm in a place where a person prohibited from owning or using a firearm can gain access to it.

According to the voters’ pamphlets mailed out before the election, “Failure to securely store a firearm would only be a crime if certain other events happen. A person who fails to securely store a firearm would be guilty of a felony if a person who is legally ineligible to possess a firearm uses it to cause personal injury or death.”

“The safe storage piece of the initiative will also serve to reduce suicides, reduce accidental shootings, reduce gun thefts, and reduce crimes committed with stolen weapons,” Kramer said. “Washington state voters can take pride in having made that choice.”

Kramer also praised his fellow Mukilteo residents.

“I’d like to say thank you to the voters of Mukilteo, in particular, who overwhelmingly voted to pass the initiative.”

The new laws would go into place at the beginning of 2019, but will likely end up in court in the near future.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a lawsuit that contends I-1639 violates the U.S. Constitution and portions of federal law. According to a press release, the lawsuit states that the initiative “violates the commerce clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution, by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles.”

Other initiatives

Initiative 1631, concerning carbon pollution, did not pass, receiving just over 43 percent of votes. The initiative would have imposed a pollution fee on large emitters of greenhouse gases, and money raised by the fee would have been used for some environmental programs.

An unelected board, made up of people appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee, would have chosen how to spend the money raised from the initiative.

Initiative 1634, which would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees, or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages, passed with roughly 56 percent of votes.

I-940, which, according to the Washington state voters’ pamphlet would require law enforcement to receive violence deescalation, mental health and first aid training, provide first aid, and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation, passed with roughly 60 percent of votes.

All election results will be certified Nov. 27.

 

 

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