Gun Groups Challenge WA Ballot Initiative & Seek Invalidation

Second Amendment

Confusing Washington Ballot Initiative 1639 is filled with tiny unreadable fine print full of gun bans and taxes on gun owners.

BELLEVUE, WA – -( The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms recently asked the Washington State Supreme Court to invalidate Initiative 1639 and enjoin the Secretary of State to reject the petitions on the grounds that petitions circulated by paid signature gatherers failed to meet state requirements for readability nor did they include a “full, true, and correct copy of the proposed measure printed on the reverse side.”

“We publicly warned the initiative sponsors about these problems and they ignored us,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We are now taking the issue to the state high court to seek a declaratory judgment and injunction.

“During the signature gathering process,” he continued, “we were contacted by several people who were alarmed at the unreadability of the text, and also because they could not really tell what changes they were being asked to make to existing law. The microscopic maze of fine print used by the initiative sponsors disguised the actual language of the measure on the back of their petitions, which violates state law.

“ Reading that petition is like taking a bad eye exam,” Gottlieb stated.

“When paid signature gatherers told people to ‘read it online,’ that simply did not meet the requirements of state law,” he noted. “Use of such fine print is unconscionable, and when you compound that problem with the omission of underlines for proposed changes to existing law, and strike-out lines showing what current law would be eliminated, it’s not just alarming, it amounts to deception.”

Gottlieb said there are “a lot of problems hidden in that small print.” The proposed measure not only impairs the rights of young adults to own modern sporting rifles, it classifies traditional semiautomatic rifles, even rimfires, as “assault weapons.” It adds a hidden tax, disguised as a paperwork processing fee, on the exercise of a fundamental right protected by the state and federal constitutions, and it requires an ill-defined standard of ‘safe storage’ that carries a felony-level penalty for a violation.

“How were voters supposed to know what they’re being asked to change,” Gottlieb wondered. “How could they tell the difference between what would become law, and what would be replaced?

“Just because this initiative is supported by wealthy Seattle elitists doesn’t mean it could be circulated in a form that violates the law,” Gottlieb said. “The court needs to step in enforce state law and the state constitution.”

Second Amendment FoundationThe Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms ( is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, CCRKBA is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

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