This week on “The Impact”:
We look at the debate over Initiative 1639, a bundle of gun restrictions and regulations that will be on the ballot next month. The initiative would ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles to people under 21 and require training, enhanced background checks, and a ten day waiting period for buyers 21 and up. I-1639 would also require pistol and semi-automatic rifle owners to undergo annual background checks to see if they remain legally eligible to own them. In addition, it would create a criminal penalty for all gun owners whose weapons are used by unauthorized people, in the event that the weapons are not locked away unloaded when they are taken. There are certain exemptions to the last part, but the penalties could range from gross misdemeanor to felony charges depending on the circumstances. Supporters say it’s a common sense package of gun safety laws that will help prevent incidents like the Mukilteo shooting in 2016. Opponents say the initiative will unfairly characterize very common rifles and will make it difficult for gun owners to protect their families during break-ins. They argue it will put public safety at risk.
“Initiative 1639 establishes a safety training requirement and an enhanced background check process for purchasing these particularly lethal weapons,” said Paul Kramer, I-1639 supporter.
“The notion that Grandpa’s .22 plinking rifle is an assault rifle is absurd. How can we support a law that has a lie at its core?” said Phil Shave, I-1639 opponent.
Later we highlight new restrictions on opioid prescriptions that are taking effect in Washington State. The deputy director of the Washington Medical Commission, which represents tens of thousands of doctors in the state, joins us on set to explain what’s changing and why.
“I think there are some misconceptions that the chronic pain patients are the problem and I can say definitively that they are not the problem when it comes to the prescriptions getting out,” said Micah T. Matthews, MPA CPM, Washington Medical Commission.
“You had practitioners who were going around encouraging other practitioners to prescribe certain meds,” said Matthews. “We’re asking them to be more conscientious and if they do need to go over we’re asking them to document why they’re doing it.”