To call I-1639 controversial is an understatement. The ballot measure was problematic on many levels, including covering multiple proposed regulations–something other ballot measures had been bounced over–as well as questions over technical requirements during the petitioning phase.
The initiative also runs afoul of the Second Amendment in so many ways it’s not even funny.
Luckily, there are sheriffs in the state that recognize that. We’ve already talked about one.
Well, he’s not alone.
In Washington state, a freshly implemented ballot initiative and a raft of new bills may produce some of the tightest firearms regulations in the US. But standing in the way is a group of rural law enforcement officers who say point blank that they won’t enforce any of it.
The Klickitat county sheriff, Bob Songer, is one of them. He told the Guardian that the initiative passed last November “is unconstitutional on several grounds. I’ve taken the position that as an elected official, I am not going to enforce that law”.
Songer also cited ongoing litigation by the National Rife Association gun industry lobby and others which aims to demonstrate the laws violate both the second amendment and the state’s constitution. He also said that if other agencies attempted to seize weapons from county residents under the auspices of the new laws, he would consider preventively “standing in their doorway”.
However, 27 of Washington’s 39 counties rejected the ballot measure. Many of those counties are in the state’s more rural, sparsely populated districts.
It is in these counties that many – including sworn officers – are promising to resist the laws.
In Ferry county in eastern Washington, more than 72% of voters rejected I-1639. In the county’s only incorporated city, Republic, the police chief Loren Culp asked the council in November to declare the city a “second amendment sanctuary”. That vote has been delayed until March, but in the meantime, like Songer, Culp says he will not enforce.
The sheriff in Ferry county, Ray Maycumber, told the Guardian that he would not be enforcing the laws either, at least until the NRA’s litigation is completed.
“There’s a window of time when I get to make the assessment”, he said. Should the NRA not succeed, he said, he would “consider if I want to go on in the job”.
Frankly, I don’t blame any of them. Anyone with half a brain knows that I-1639 is a bad law. More than that, it was allowed on the ballot despite serious questions about its legality. At least one friend of mine who lives in Washington state convincingly argued that since Washington routinely bounces a tax measure ballot initiative on the grounds that it covers more than one topic, I-1639 should have as well.
Makes sense to me.
Sheriffs refusing to enforce the law also makes sense. Plus, it puts liberals in a tough spot. As Jazz Shaw wrote over at our sister site Hot Air [emphasis mine]:
Others are urging more counties and towns to adopt “sanctuary” policies designed to protect the Second Amendment rights of their citizens. That puts Democrats in a tricky position because supporting sanctuary status when it comes to illegal aliens but rejecting it for an enshrined Constitutional right is a rather hypocritical pair of positions to take.
I’ve made that same case myself.
But, then again, these are Democrats we’re talking about here. If it weren’t for double-standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.