Embattled WA Lawmaker Shea Talks as Rights Fight Looms

Embattled Washington State Rep. Matt Shea says he's being ‘targeted” for his success in defeating gun control bills. (Dave Workman)

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- As hundreds of Second Amendment activists gathered at the Washington State capitol Friday—a prelude to hearings beginning this week on several gun control proposals—they heard from embattled State Rep. Matt Shea before he spoke exclusively to Ammoland about a report that he “participated in an act of domestic terrorism” relating to the armed takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January 2016.

Shea’s attendance at the rally, which drew a crowd various estimates place between 600 and 1,000, has drawn mixed reactions on social media, but many in the crowd carried signs declaring support for the eastern Washington lawmaker. He vowed to “never back down” from adversity.

Following his remarks to the crowd, Shea told Ammoland that he has received thousands of messages of support. He asserted that he’s been targeted “because I’ve been very effective at killing anti-gun bills over the last several years.”

That may be more difficult during this session of the Legislature because he has been suspended from the Republican caucus and his committee assignments have been taken away. This is in reaction to the 108-page report by the Rampart Group alleging Shea has been involved with far-right extremists and participated in what the report called “armed conflicts.”

Three of those cases were identified: the standoff at Malheur NWR, an incident in Priest River, Idaho where a protest was organized on behalf of an elderly veteran who was allegedly being disarmed under Veterans Administration regulations after suffering a stroke, and the famous standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The report contains several alarming allegations, including one on Page 81 asserting, “It is the professional opinion of the Investigators, that on a more probable than not basis, Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”

Shea’s supporters believe the report to be biased. Shea did not cooperate with the investigators. There have been calls for his resignation.

Shea's supporters were sticking by him during the Olympia rally. (Dave Workman)

But Shea maintains his opponents want him removed from office because he is “kind of the person out front, in the public eye. Absolutely I’ve been targeted…for standing up for property rights and targeted for standing up for liberty. I’ve been very outspoken and I’m going to continue to be outspoken about these rights because they are worth talking about.”

The Republican lawmaker said he is “absolutely” running for re-election in the fall, noting that he’s had more support lately “than I’ve ever had.”

He has ignored the calls for his resignation, stating, “These attacks have occurred every year for the last 12 years. People are starting to see through them. They realize that anytime someone is labeled a criminal due process always applies…I think people are sick and tired of being guilty until proven innocent, instead of innocent until proven guilty.”

It was a not-so-subtle reference to the Rampart report, which many believe is filled with inflammatory references, such  as “armed conflict.”

Shea called the term “ridiculous,” recalling news video in which he is shown standing near the county sheriff in Priest River at the home of the veteran whose gun rights were—in the eyes of his supporters—being violated.

“This is what they’re trying to use,” he stated, “and that shows the absurdity of this entire report. The other absurd thing that came out is they tried to label people racists for going up to Marble, Washington to a ‘God and Country’ celebration and they won’t interview the two black pastors that actually live there who are very upset about being called white supremacists.”

Shea said his presence at Malheur came after a couple of protests, one in Burns, Oregon followed by the Malheur takeover. He said the refuge occupation was staged by the protesters to establish “standing” in court so the group could challenge federal ownership of the refuge lands.

“We didn’t know any of this until we actually went out there, with several other state legislators, to find out what was happening,” Shea maintained.

As Shea recalled, the group met with local officials and then went out to speak with the protesters at the refuge.

“We hadn’t even made that decision at that point,” he insisted.

Shea also said he helped negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff the night one occupant, LaVoy Finnicum, was killed at a roadblock.

“You can’t be a domestic terrorist if you’re actually helping to defuse and deescalate a situation, and that seems to never be reported,” he contended.

Shea also asserted that the investigation did not interview “three dozen” material witnesses, which he called “investigatory malpractice.”

While Shea became the focus of much media coverage of the rally, the real story may be the growing frustration of energized Washington gun owners who spent the weekend preparing for gun control hearings and watching the drama in far-off Richmond, Virginia. There, State Sen. Amanda Chase has called on anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam to resign for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of his constituents leading up to an anticipated massive Second Amendment Monday rally at the capitol.

In Washington, the Senate Law and Justice Committee were scheduled to hear testimony on bills to limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, to require proof of training to receive a concealed pistol license, penalties for the use of stolen firearms, and other bills.

The House is considering legislation to repeal state preemption, background checks for ammunition purchases, and other restrictions. Here is a look at gun control legislation filed so far.

From all indications, facing this kind of legislation, Evergreen State activists are looking at a tough session, while also looking ahead to the November elections when they hope to change the balance in Olympia, and the party in control of the governor’s office for the first time in more than 35 years.


About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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Don
Don
6 months ago

Shea has been smeared by the left. The trouble is Washington Republicans are weak and ineffective. WA voters could turn this around if they would just get out and vote. Wheat farmers and potato farmers in centrel and eastern WA simply don’t vote when it matters. Same for Spokane voters. They are becoming more like Seattle voters because they have the same issues of drug abuse and homelessness. WA voters, gun owners, are going to get what they didn’t vote for. It could be turned around in November, but they are too lazy to do it. I am happy to… Read more »

Bluemax
Bluemax
6 months ago

I listened to Matt Shea among others speak at the Rally in Olympia. All Washington 2A gun owners in Washington State need to make them self’s known. In voting and being willing to stand up to the Tyranny that is going on. What happens now affects all our Children and Grandchildren. The Dictators will not stop until all our rights are gone, and we all live in controllable poverty or work camps. Dave I Greatly misunderstood your last article on Matt Shea, but I am back on track now. Thanks for keeping us informed, and thanks for Representatives like Matt… Read more »

Bluemax
Bluemax
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave Workman

I did not know Matt Shea. And not realizing his fight was for our freedoms.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
6 months ago

Why don’t they have a delete comment on here somewhere?

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
6 months ago

Well it’s good to see an honest STATESMAN out their trying to do his job and follow his oath of office. Sad to say he is probably in the 1/2 of 1% who are honest and trustworthy. The rest need to be tried for treason and treated like Nicolae Ceaușescu.

Oldman
Oldman
6 months ago

In the last two days in downtown Seattle, there have been 3 shootings and multiple casualties to uninvolved innocent victims. As of last night they only have one perp in jail. Inslee has said that we need to do something about that. There are measures we can take, says he. As the laws come against gun possession, the crime rate rises. One police officer or Sheriff, whose name I can’t remember said that laws against guns won’t work. He said that keeping criminals in jail and hiring more police and prosecutors is the only answer. ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE… Read more »

jack mac
jack mac
6 months ago
Reply to  Oldman

Oldman: The laws against gun possession do work to increase crime. That is the intent of our public servants. Increase in crime is a pretense to increase the numbers of enforcers. The laws of our Constitution needs to be enforced against our public servants. The enforcers hired by public servants will not do it.

Dubi Loo
Dubi Loo
6 months ago
Reply to  Oldman

From one old man to another: I agreed with you up until you relayed the police assertion the answer is to hire more police and more prosecutors. This is Not the answer, rather it is bureaucracy ensuring it’s continued existence. I especially agreed with your final sentence! That’s my $0.02 YMMV

Oldman
Oldman
6 months ago
Reply to  Dubi Loo

@Duloo What the Sheriff/police chief actually was saying is that we don’t enforce the laws already on the books and don’t keep those who have already been determined to be unworthy of freedom, out of society. He went on to say that what we have been doing for the last thirty years is NOT working. More prosecutors are needed because they can’t keep up with the cases they have and therefore have to plea deal too often. Sorry I was not more succinct earlier.

Dubi Loo
Dubi Loo
6 months ago
Reply to  Oldman

@Oldman
Reading the complete statement we are in complete agreement! Be safe, us “more mature” guys need to stick together.

Don
Don
6 months ago
Reply to  Oldman

Probably Ozzie the sheriff of Spokane county. He’s one of the few real heroes out there.

Hankus
Hankus
6 months ago
Reply to  Oldman

The two perps that got away – and who they are still looking for – are both 24. Gang bangers that have 64 arrests between the two of them. So the Seattle revolving door of injustice, and blind eye toward gangs are an utter failure. Mayor Jerkin was yakking in front of the media cameras, blaming – you guessed it – “gun violence”. There are too many guns in the hands of the public, she says. Oh, and this is “unacceptable”. She mentioned more than once that a “MAC10” was recovered WITH AN EXTENDED MAGAZINE. Idiot. First, it wasn’t a… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  Hankus

nobody sane OR honest.

Superman
Superman
6 months ago

Sorry, Dave, but it will be same old, same old in Olympia next November. Too many liberal Dumbocrats on the West side along with too many firearm owners throughout the state who are too lazy to vote.

BowserB
BowserB
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

There is no limit to the excuses people have for failing to vote. Big problem I see is people who say, “I always vote in presidential elections.” Seriously, they say that. “So Senate, House of Representatives, Texas Senate and House, Harris County Commissioners, Mayor, City Council, out-of-control local school board…they don’t matter?” That’s one problem we have now! The president alone is very limited in what he can accomplish. We must vote in every election. Remember, Virginia got to where it is with a total 40% voter turnout. AOC was elected with a 28% voter turnout. Bloomberg is running TV… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  BowserB

and WE got our newest Bloomburg raoe job because only 23% of gun owners voted last November/

Superman
Superman
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave Workman

Sorry, but 90% of Washingtonians don’t know/care who Matt Shea is. And the 10% who do think he is some evil right-winger.

Don
Don
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

Shea’s troubles even make news in Idaho.

Superman
Superman
6 months ago
Reply to  Don

Which has nothing to do with Washington. Nice try; no cigar.

Don
Don
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

Actually it does. Some of Shea’s incidents that are being used against him took place in north Idaho. He’s from our neighborhood, 57 miles away.

Superman
Superman
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

‘I knowed’? Did you fall asleep in your grammar class in junior high school today? Make sure your mom helps you with your homework.

Superman
Superman
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

‘If I owned Texas and Hell I would rent out Texas and live in Hell’ – General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Don
Don
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

You’re right. Central and Eastern WA voters are too lazy to vote. Puget Sound voters control the state and have support from Grays Harbor and Jefferson county old school union voters.

Superman
Superman
6 months ago
Reply to  Don

‘I can see all the votes I need from the top of the Space Needle’ – former U.S. Senator Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson.

Don
Don
6 months ago
Reply to  Superman

That’s the truth, the rest of Washington doesn’t count for much.