New gun laws in Washington state have prompted one museum to begin removing World War II-era weapons on loan to them from collectors.
The Lynden Pioneer Museum’s director, Troy Luginbill, read through Initiative 594 and concluded that costly background checks on collectors may new to be performed if the items were returned past Dec. 4, The Bellingham Herald reported Wednesday.
“I read through the law about 10 different times looking for a loophole,” Mr. Luginbill told the paper.
The law was written to allow for an exception for antiques — but only those produced before 1898. If the museum kept its 11 rifles, then it would risk being in violation of the law.
Geoff Potter, a spokesman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which spearheaded the campaign for the new gun laws, told The Associated Press Wednesday that the intention was never to burden museums with the kind of scenario that has unfolded.
“This is clearly not what was concerned when I-594 was designed,” Potter said, AP reported. “You can’t craft every possibility into every law. We think they can go forward with the exhibit, and we hope they will.”
Mr. Luginbill’s attorney said that to be in good legal standing, the museum must comply with the law or challenge it, The Bellingham Herald reported. For now, the museum has opted to play it safe.
“We have elected to comply with the law as we understand it,” Mr. Luginbill said Monday, the paper reported. “The ideal situation would be if someone comes along from the state and says, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ If that happens before May 1, we can put the guns back on display.”
The exhibit “Over the Beach: The WWII Pacific Theater,” runs until May 1.