USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- When the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby in Washington State last year convinced voters to pass Initiative 1639, a sweeping gun control measure, the state’s largest law enforcement groups lined up against it, and now sheriffs in at least ten counties have announced they will not enforce the law because they believe it to be unconstitutional.
The latest top lawman to take a stand is Grays Harbor County, Sheriff Rick Scott. In a three-paragraph letter to Randy Ross, chairman of the County Commission, Scott had this to say:
“As your sheriff, I have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution, and the Washington State Constitution. Therefore, until the legality of I-1639 s resolved, I have instructed my deputies to take no enforcement action as it pertains to I-1639. Deputies will document such matters. However, they will take no enforcement action. Nor will we pro-actively initiate investigations relative to I-1639.”
Likewise, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wrote in an email to KHQ news that he fought and spoke against I-1639 and has done several interviews about the measure. He called the initiative “unconstitutional at the State and Federal level.”
Other sheriffs taking stands against the new law have issued letters that essentially mirror the sentiments of both Scott and Knezovich. Making matters even more interesting is the fact that the sheriffs represent counties on both sides of the state. Western Washington is generally viewed as the more liberal half of the state while Eastern Washington is seen as more conservative.
The 30-page initiative raises the minimum age for purchasing a so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle” to 21, and classifies every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured, including popular centerfire hunting rifles and .22-caliber rimfires, as “assault rifles.” It also mandates training, a 10-day waiting period, registration, and so-called “secure storage.”
The initiative is being challenged in U.S. District Court by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
Scott joins sheriffs in Adams, Benton, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Ferry, Franklin, Spokane, Wahkiakum, and Yakima counties. Also, the Cowlitz County Board of Commissioners has also resolved to oppose I-1639.
Last November, the initiative passed in only a dozen of the state’s 39 counties, but those are the counties with the largest populations.
Washington has become an acknowledged “test tube” state for gun control. Many observers believe it is at the epicenter of the national gun control movement, which has been energized in recent years thanks to the fortunes of wealthy elitists including Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, and the late Paul Allen, all of whom have financially supported gun control efforts in the state over the past five years.
In 2014, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which is allied with Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying group, pushed through Initiative 594, which required so-called “universal background checks” as a strategy to prevent gun-related violence.
But one year after it was enacted, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., did a quick analysis and found several shootings that were not prevented by the law.
In a prepared statement at the time, Gottlieb observed, “The only discernible impact of the law has been to inconvenience honest gun owners and add more red tape to gun shows.”
Nearly two years after the initiative passed, the state suffered a pair of high-profile shootings with multiple victims, but instead of acknowledging that their measure failed to live up to its task, the gun control lobby simply pressed for additional restrictions. I-1639 is the latest of those, and with county sheriffs and one police chief – in Republic, Ferry County – refusing to enforce it, beleaguered Evergreen State gun owners and rights activists are hoping this may be a signal that Northwest anti-gunners may have gone too far.
About Dave Workman