U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- With the July 1 full enactment of anti-gun Initiative 1639 looming in Washington State, yet another community has resolved to be a “sanctuary” for gun owners at the same time that Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee told the New York Times, “We’ve got the NRA on the run in Washington State.”
Whether that’s accurate is speculative at best, but it is clear from recent Evergreen State history that Inslee and the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby, with its billionaire backers, do not have the state’s beleaguered gun owners running from anything.
The town council in Yacolt, a small community in far southwest Washington’s Clark County, earlier this week voted unanimously to designate the town a sanctuary from I-1639, according to the Vancouver Columbian. It creates a rather awkward situation because the town’s law enforcement services are provided by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, and Sheriff Chuck Atkins is one of the defendants in a federal lawsuit challenging provisions of the controversial measure.
Clark County voters also approved the initiative – one of only a dozen counties in the state where it passed, while the majority of the state’s 39 counties rejected the measure – but in Yacolt, the vote against was better than 3-to-1, the newspaper said.
The New York Times interviewed all Democrat presidential hopefuls, including Inslee – who is running almost dead last so far on a climate change agenda – on 18 specific questions. The very first of those questions was “In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?” Interestingly, the Times asserts in its story that, “Democrats have largely converged on a moderate, consensus view of gun control, focused on tightening background checks and banning military-style weaponry. We wanted to get at a deeper question of values — who thinks there are good reasons to own guns, and who thinks we’d be better off without them altogether.”
For the Times to suggest the gun-ban proposals from Cory Booker or Eric Swalwell to be “moderate” might raise questions among Second Amendment activists about the newspaper’s perspective on the subject of gun ownership.
Inslee’s answer to the gun question got the attention of MyNorthwest.com, which reported on his other reactions as well. Here’s what Inslee told the newspaper:
“Well, I think that in a world that I can foresee, that law enforcement personnel, that are trained and are protecting us, certainly are going to be needed and I do believe that there is some right, privately, for firearms. But I have been a person who cast one of the pivotal votes to pass the Assault Weapon Bill in 1994. I lost my seat, in part, because of that, but I have never regretted that vote because it was the right vote. And now I can tell you we’ve got the NRA on the run in Washington state. We passed through the strongest gun safety laws in the United States and we have more to do. So I’m committed to common sense gun safety…”
Washington State gun rights activists might take issue with their governor’s tepid acknowledgement that he believes “there is some right” of firearms ownership by private citizens. That right is enumerated in the State Constitution, Article 1, Section 24, which states, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Inslee, and anti-gun Attorney General Bob Ferguson, supported I-1639. But in late May, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton denied a motion to dismiss the challenge by the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA, suggesting that the only place the NRA is running is to the courts. SAF and NRA are also partnered in legal challenges to gun control ordinances adopted in a couple of western Washington cities in apparent violation of the state’s 35-year-old preemption statute.
In the months since voter approval of the anti-rights initiative, many of the state’s county sheriffs have publicly declared they will not be enforcing provisions of the measure.
I-1639 raised the minimum age for purchasing a “semiautomatic assault rifle” (SAR) in Washington to 21, while creating a definition of an SAR that literally applies to every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured, including those popular sporting rifles in .22-caliber rimfire. It sets a waiting period, a training mandate, so-called “secure storage” mandate, registration, annual background checks to determine whether gun owners remain eligible to own their firearms, and several other requirements.
But one lawman opposed to the measure, Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones, was quoted by the Associated Press stating, “I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights. I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”
The age limit provision took effect Jan. 1, but the remainder of I-1639 becomes effective July 1. With the ten-day waiting period on SARs – a firearm that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said doesn’t even exist anywhere but in the text of the initiative – it may have a major impact on gun show operators in the state, especially the Washington Arms Collectors. Their members are furious, and have been donating to support the SAF/NRA lawsuit.
Knezovich said earlier this year that he suspects the only reason the initiative actually defined a SAR is to allow a future effort to ban such firearms. By no small coincidence, the Brady gun control group recently appealed via email for funds to support its effort to ban “assault weapons.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb has indicated that the federal court challenge could take several months. The losing side will almost certainly appeal an initial trial court ruling, and there hasn’t even been a court hearing on the case.
Meanwhile, as resistance grows to I-1639 enforcement, it could become an issue in the 2020 legislative elections. A change of power in the state capitol in Olympia could translate to a dramatic turnaround of the gun control effort that has turned the state into a battleground.
About Dave Workman