The Battle Ground City Council has taken a position on Initiative 1639, deferring to the courts on the constitutionality of the gun control measure.
Battle Ground Mayor Mike Dalesandro read an official statement from the council during its May 6 meeting, preceding testimony by several community members both against and in support of I-1639.
The initiative, passed by Washington state voters last November, imposes restrictions on ownership of semi-automatic rifles ranging from age of purchase, interstate sales, mandating safety classes for purchases and regarding storage and liability on those firearms if used to commit a crime.
Battle Ground’s statement acknowledged the “extensive outreach to all members of the City Council” since the initiative was voted in, noting that the feedback involved “a plethora of different perspectives” in support or against the law. Gun rights activists have pushed for the city to approve an ordinance that would have the city be a “sanctuary” for what I-1639 opponents say are rights enshrined in the U.S. and Washington state constitutions.
The city, however, deferred to the separation of powers detailed in both constitutions, “which requires the constitutionality of a state law to be determined through the judicial branch of the government, not this local legislative body.”
Currently, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have a lawsuit in federal court challenging the initiative, though there has yet to be a ruling on the case.
“We continue to encourage all citizens to participate in their government and to bring forth their voice to be heard on issues that are of importance to them,” the statement ended.