WSU police 'disappointed' after new state gun law takes effect

The Washington State University assistant chief of police says he is “disappointed” after a new gun law took effect.

The law, called Initiative 1639, forbids anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a semi-automatic rifle, according to the website of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. The law also prohibits the selling or transferring of semi-automatic rifles to anyone under 21.

In July, further regulations with Initiative 1639 became active, requiring stricter background checks for purchasing or transferring a semi-automatic rifle. These background checks include a standard criminal background check and a mental health check, which could take up to seven to ten days, according to The Daily Evergreen.

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According to WSU assistant chief of police, Steven Hansen, the more rigorous background check process makes it difficult for the police force and students to store guns because it would require the police department to initiate a background check every time a student asked to check out their firearm.  The new law would also require a mental health check by a state mental health provider each time a student asked to check out their firearm, a process that could take over a week, according to the Daily Evergreen

WSU students previously stored between 50 and 70 guns with the WSU campus police, a service that will no longer be available.

“We’re disappointed that we can’t provide a valuable service anymore,” Hansen expressed. “Everyone I’ve talked to has also expressed disappointment, but they’ve understood why.”

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Students who want to use their guns during hunting season would especially be affected by the law, Hansen also pointed out.

Guns are banned in WSU property and student housing, so any firearm cannot be stored on campus. Hansen said that storing firearms with the police department has been common practice beginning with when he started 36 years ago.

“That’s really unfortunate for law-abiding students with guns over at Washington State,” Corporal Josh Thueson from the Moscow, Idaho Police Department, which allows students from the University of Idaho to store guns, said, according to the Daily Evergreen

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Bows and arrows can still be stored with WSU police.

Campus Reform reached out to WSU police but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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