WA Sheriffs to State Government: ‘We Support, Defend Rights’

All but one of Washington State’s county sheriffs have signed a statement pledging their duty to ‘defend the inherent rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution, including the Second Amendment. Most of these lawmen gathered for this photo recently. (Image courtesy Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.)

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- County sheriffs in Washington State are sending a message to the State Legislature and Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, telling state government with its Democrat majority they will protect the freedoms and rights of Evergreen State citizens, including their rights secured by the Second Amendment and the state constitution.

It’s a serious push back against the state’s Democrat-controlled Legislature, whose leaders have been promoting gun control measures for several years. Word of the effort leaked out to some local media, including KEPR News, but it did not become official until the Washington State Sheriffs’ Association (WSSA) officially released a statement Monday evening.

The effort was launched by Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett, WSSA vice president.

“We felt it would reassure people, not instill fear,” Burnett told AmmoLand. “People want to know who’s on their side, who’s got their back.”

In a public statement, Sheriff Burnett told his constituents, “Prompted by increasing public concern to safeguard constitutional rights and as the elected Sheriff of Chelan County, Washington, I soundly reaffirm my sworn oath to ‘support, obey, and defend’ the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington. I humbly serve as the chief law enforcement executive of Chelan County in this great State of Washington. As such, I publicly reassert my individual duty to defend the inherent rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution for all citizens of Chelan County.

“Importantly,” he continued, “the Second Amendment of our divinely inspired Constitution clearly states ‘… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed’. I hereby recognize a significant principle underlying the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms is indispensable to the existence of a free people.

“As your elected Sheriff, I pledge to do everything within my power to steadfastly protect the Second Amendment and all other individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. I understand that the destructive influences currently existing in our country will only relent when men and women everywhere genuinely care for each other. In order to be a strong and prosperous people, we must rely on Providence, and care deeply about preserving the Constitution and its freedoms.”

A similar message, posted on Facebook by Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher, states, “Importantly, the Second Amendment of our Constitution clearly states … ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. As Sheriffs, we recognize this inalienable right and swore to protect it. I feel strongly that the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms, is indispensable to the existence of a free people.”

In their statement, the lawmen note, “As your elected Sheriffs, we individually and collectively pledge to do everything within our power to steadfastly protect the Second Amendment and all other individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We understand the destructive influences currently existing in our country will only relent when women and men everywhere genuinely care for each other. We must rely on Providence and care deeply about preserving the Constitution and its freedoms in order to be a strong and prosperous people.”

Since 2014, two anti-gun-rights initiatives—bankrolled by Seattle-based wealthy elitists with campaigns that financially overwhelmed grassroots opposition—have whittled away at the rights of law-abiding gun owners. As reported here by AmmoLand News, neither measure has lived up to promises that passage would result in less violent crime, especially gun-related homicides. Murders have gone up in the state, and more than doubled in Seattle since 2016, according to FBI and Seattle Police data.

Noticeably absent from the list of signatures is that of Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht in King County. She has been under fire for months, from both the right and the left. In May, the King County Police Officers Guild called on her to resign. According to KING News, the Seattle-based NBC affiliate reported that a survey of deputies “found an overwhelming lack of trust and confidence” in the sheriff, who defeated former Sheriff John Urquhart almost four years ago. Johanknecht has refused to quit.

Last November, voters in the heavily liberal county changed the office of sheriff to an appointed position instead of an elected office. But her drama is a sub-plot to what amounts to a declaration of independence by the county sheriffs, the remainder of whom are elected to office by residents of their respective counties.

Sheriffs began signing late last month, which explains why the signature of now-retired Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myers appears on the statement.

CORRECTION: AmmoLand inadvertently reported Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myers had retired June 30. It was actually Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson. Apologies for the error.

Gov. Inslee and Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson are gun control extremists who both supported the gun control initiatives and have pushed for a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” In 2018, Initiative 1639 actually invented a definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle,” a weapon that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has stated does not exist. Knezovich signed the statement.

The “assault rifle” definition applies to every self-loading rifle ever designed and manufactured, regardless of caliber, anywhere in the world. It even encompasses popular rimfire rifles including the Marlin Model 60, Ruger 10/22 and classic Remington Nylon 66.

The measure also stripped young adults in the 18-20-year age group of their right to purchase and own a “semiautomatic assault rifle.” The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association are challenging the law in federal court. They are joined by two firearms dealers and three members of the affected age group.

Frustration among the sheriffs is perhaps best explained by a line in Sheriff Hatcher’s message:

“In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever we all stand together to protect our rights from the blatantly contrasted position of individuals with a special interest or political agendas.”

About Dave 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.

Dave Workman

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Henry Bowman

I would be better assured if these sheriffs would fulfill their Oaths and go en masse to arrest these treasonous, Oath-breaking, communist SOB’s who passed these unconstitutional acts.

Talk is cheap, and means nothing when not backed by actions.


The problem with your idea is that is not how this representative republic works. Those promulgating the communist laws were duly elected to represent their constituents. Sure, I’d like to tar and feather the whole lot of them. But that is not how our beloved America functions. The challenge is to educate and raise our families on the fundamentals of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Hopefully, our sleepy, complacent, spoiled, teat sucking, citizenry will start doing so before it is too late. Before we need another revolution to reset those principles. Before we become another Cub, Venezuela, Hong Kong,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by OlTrailDog

I disagree.. EACH ONE of our govenment officials swore a solemn oath to uphold, defend, uphold, and execute the Cosntitutions of both the US and our state. Fron INslee on down with a heavy side trip to that rotten Fergie critter, thousand =s ahve rebelled and failed to uphold that solemn oath. That failure is felony perjury, and at least some should be so charged. Inslee had NO constitutional authority to impose his draconinan restrictins and regulations and mandates, nor to assign to a state administrative department to make “rules” that effectively have the force of law.. except they don’t… Read more »


You are welcome to disagree. After all, this is still America. However, it seems you are obfuscating the main point by citing some obscure situation that probably most have no idea of what you are talking about. I don’t and I doubt it has ramifications for the bigger picture.

Secondly, I too swore the same oath you cite when I took “office” in the military. I suspect many herein did too. I reckon that means we are still just as culpable as others who did. For me, proudly so.


Dave – good update.
I knew that the King County person would be the hold out – they tried that ‘trick’ of going from an elected sheriff who is directly responsible to the voters to a politically appointed one about 40 odd years ago. Of course King County wasn’t quite as over run with libs back then so enough folks woke up to what politics was doing and they switched back to an elected sheriff in relatively short order.
It was also nice to see a guy who I knew when he was a rookie make good 😉


40 years ago King County police hand delivered NFA Form ones to me so I could chop down an Uzi, Mini Uzi and HK94. They were really nice. The first one I had to talk to the sheriff for about 10 minutes and he signed off on it. it was a pleasure back then. it wouldn’t be the case today.


And how many of these sheriffs will continue enforcing ALL the unlawful gun laws that are currently on the books? I have a guess. And my 2nd Amendment doesn’t need protection. It is just fine. You fat, lazy asses may want to go arrest some politicians attempting (and succeeding) to destroy that Constitution thing you guys keep mentioning. Hint: look up the word that means, “Intentionally subverting the highest law of the land with the intent of undermining it, thus bringing about its destruction, and thus the destruction of the nation which is based within that law.” I’ll just tell… Read more »

APG member

Yes, a bunch of BS virtue signaling to their voter base. Unfortunately many will be fooled. Failure to uphold ones oath of office is apparently a non-crime.

Last edited 1 year ago by APG member

you are corret with respect to many of these Boys in Blue (or brown). But I have perosnal knowledge of “how thigns work” in quite a few couties in this state, and have to question that their sheirffs are refusing to enforce many of the uncosntitutinal laws and mandates, even those where the voters got suckered or bought and enacted draconinan gun prohibitioin laws. Most if these guys are on recored as refusing to enforce the new prohibitions agaisnt private sales, and most will not act on WuFlu “violatioins” of various types. Not a law enforcement issue, let the state… Read more »

APG member

OH NO! JonLordofShart is off the meds AGAIN! More incoherent irrelevant ramblings, get a better tharapist!!

Last edited 1 year ago by APG member

Colorado sheriffs should give seminars to Wyoming Sheriffs.

Wyoming legislators should make it mandatory training – just to rub Wyoming Sheriffs’ faces in it.


Got our hands full just trying to get enforcers to respect the 2nd Amendment. They desperately want to be allowed to assist federal enforcers enforce the upcoming federal laws and they desperately do not want to be held accountable personally.

I’m wating for a case where the Colorado sheriffs pull their firearm on a federal, city or state enforcer and tell them they are not allowed to torment people regarding their firearms. I’ll send it on to WASCOP as an example.


WY sheriffs are on video doing exactly what I wrote.

Have you seen the Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy (USMC veteran) infringing on the 1st Amendment?

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

I posted a link, but it may take a couple days to clear. Search for:


Government employees need to stand down and relax. The COVID-19 panic has given them a booster of authoritarianism.

Notice how all the government employees back each other up and try to intimidate the non-government employee with non-existent laws/rules.

They believe there is no reason not to.


It’s funny how people don’t mind the government video recording them in all sorts of different places, but if some random guy walks into a post office and films, people lose thier minds. A significant percentage of the population has been conditioned to allow the government to do whatever they want. A large percent of government emloyees are not content enforcing the hundreds of thousands of laws on the books. If you challenge their authority, even a postal worker will attempt to tell you what to do and admit that he doesn’t care what the law on the wall of… Read more »


The 1st Amendment Audits are very revealing at showing just how far government employees will go. They are absolutely confident in their not-so-qualified immunity. Even when they are told the law, even when the law is litterally written on the wall, they just don’t care – it’s all about their authority not being respected.

There are far few 2nd Amendment audits because of the real danger of a non-government employee being shot by a government employee who will claim “officer safety.”


Authoritarianism by government employees is absolutely out of control. The backlash is on the way. When they are ostracized by the dentist, the surveyor, the plumber, the pharmacist, the corporate engineer, etc., they will be shocked (but they shouldn’t be).


Regarding the 1st Amendment, I’m not sure which sheriffs are better – certainly this Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy (and proud USMC veteran) needs some coaching:


The vast majority of thse Sheriffs will back up this statement with action. A few? Maybe not, or at least not in every situation. I know my own shriff got up in the mug of the mayor of one city when she failed/refused to deal with last summer’s violence and destruction. She sorta began singing a different tune, and things have been relatively quiet in that regard. Most have stood betweenus and the rotten state’s antics over the WuFlu, failing or refusing to enforce most of the mandates. “that;s not a law enforcement issue, go talk to L&I.

Idaho Bob

As a neighbor to the State of Washington, this is great news. I only hope they stand firm on their convictions. I also hope the vast majority of Sheriffs in Idaho do the same. Maybe they can get it to rub off onto the Sheriffs in Oregon.


As a retired Washington State police officer this pleases me. I actually moved to Idaho to get away from the leftist state politics that are in full power in Washington. The last few years have demonstrated that I made the right choice. Inslee and Ferguson are terrible for gun owners. But the state is lost to the democrats, it’s like one-party rule.