Washington state is in the midst of the most screwed up battle on a gun control initiative I’ve ever seen. Initiative 1639 was thrown out by the courts, then that was overturned, and now the state is going to have to vote on this come November.
However, while anti-gunners routinely claim that measures like those proposed in Initiative 1639 will reduce crime, this particular set of laws has gathered opposition from the one group you would think would support something that would result in less crime: Police officers.
The Washington State Sheriffs Association, the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association, and the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs announced they oppose I-1639, a move to make it harder to get some semi-automatic firearms.
The groups argued, in statements released by the National Rifle Association, that the ballot measure will have little effect on crime while ramping up possibly unconstitutional restrictions on gun owners.
“This initiative has nothing to do with ‘assault weapons’ and is directed only at our good citizens who already pass multiple background checks before owning a firearm,” said WSLEFIA. “I-1639 is an attack on civil rights and is an attempt to marginalize all firearm owners, including law enforcement officers. I-1639 will impair public safety, embolden criminals and impose burdensome restrictions on our most law-abiding citizens.”
Backed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility — a group that was able to get two different gun control ballot measures passed since 2014 — the initiative aims to change the definition under Washington law of an “assault rifle” to effectively regulate all semi-auto long arms other than shotguns. The new requirements proposed alongside the definition would bar sales to those under 21 altogether.
Those seeking to purchase an AR-15 or similar firearm would have to pass an enhanced background check, show proof of training, pay up to a $25 fee, and wait at least 10 days before picking up the gun from a dealer. There would be no exception to those who already have a concealed carry permit or have legally purchased a rifle before.
To call the initiative controversial is understating the case.
It’s good to WSsLEFIA sees I-1639 for precisely what it is. What a lot of these anti-gunners forget is that police officers are often gun owners on their own. They’re the very people being demonized by their anti-gun rhetoric, so it’s not surprising they see through the bull.
Not only that, but they see the routine failures of gun control every single day. They see how laws that will supposedly stop bad people do nothing to them, but good people are inhibited from exercising their constitutional right without jumping through countless hoops.
It’s ridiculous, and the police officers often see that.
As a result, they’re stepping up to oppose the measures. I’m sure some small group of police officers will be found to lend support to the cause–probably a group of police chiefs, truth be told–and they’ll try to pretend the rank and file don’t matter, but that’s not how it works. Police chiefs are political appointees. They reflect the politics of those who hired them. The rank and file are the ones who see what works and what doesn’t on a daily basis.
Maybe it’s time for Washington state residents to listen to those guys for a change.