Washington's I-1639's Implementation A Total Train Wreck

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

When Washington state voters passed I-1639, we knew it would be a train wreck in the making. The law tried to do too many things and, as a result, would do none of them particularly well.

Along the way, there were warning signs that those who wrote the initiative didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

However, it now seems that the law is more of a train wreck than initially thought.


“I1639 is just a few weeks away, and the state finally released their new Firearm Transfer Application. To say we’re frustrated is an understatement.
It demonstrates a clear lack of leadership from the FBI, WA AG’s office, and/or the WA DOL,” writes Talos Tactical, a Washington state gun store on their Facebook page.

In the post, Talos outlines a number of issues stemming from the implementation of I-1639.

One of the major issues? The background check system seems to be completely screwed up.

“The FBI says we can no longer do instant checks on semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and frames/receivers,” they note. “They need to be submitted to local law enforcement.”

In theory, that shouldn’t be a huge issue. A slow one, of course, but not a big deal, right? Well, it is. You see, there is no database or anything gun stores can consult to meet the requirement. “The state says we need to fill out their transfer form and physically mail it to the law enforcement agency. The agency is supposed to do the background check, and then physically mail it back. It cannot be done in less than 30 days (per an official release by King County). At 30 days, the paperwork expires. So either nobody will get their guns, or everybody will and we won’t find out until later whether they legally should have,” the Facebook post notes.

Of course, there’s a whole lot more. I highly advise you to read the entire thing. In truth, a whole lot is going on with these forms, none of it good. You’ll want to see all the ways this situation is completely jacked up.

There’s virtually nothing about I-1639 that tolerable to most gun owners, yet a handful of urban areas saddled the rest of the state with this draconian nonsense.

It’s only a miracle I’ve been able to hold onto my belief that I should never ascribe to malice that which can be easily explained as incompetence. If you want to ban guns without banning guns, creating a byzantine labyrinth of regulations that no one can comply with would be one hell of a way to do it, and that’s what we’re looking at here.

However, I still hold to my belief. This isn’t an effort to ban guns without banning them–though I’m quite sure those who supported this measure would be OK with that outcome–but is instead proof that the “brains” behind this were on a scale somewhere between a salad bar and a sea sponge.