War Brewing, Arrests Threatened as Sheriffs Defy Gun Control Law

  • 07/15/2019 12:00 AM
  • Source: AAN
  • by: AAN Staff
War Brewing, Arrests Threatened as Sheriffs Defy Gun Control Law
VCSO [Public domain]
Several local sheriffs are refusing to enforce new anti-gun laws in Washington state, leading the state attorney general to threaten arrests.

A Washington state ballot initiative passed last year raised the minimum age to own a firearm to 21 years old as well as imposing stricter background checks, requiring training to own a gun and mandating a 10-day waiting period on firearms purchases.

Initiative 1639 also holds gun owners legally liable if their gun is stolen from anywhere but a locked safe and used in a crime.

Several local sheriffs have announced they will refuse to enforce the new anti-gun laws in their counties – leading the state attorney general to announce he will arrest dissenters.

Stevens County Sheriff Brad Manke says "(h)is deputies won't be issuing citations or making custodial arrests for most suspected violations, short of an obviously mentally ill person under 21 displaying a semi-automatic rifle in a dangerous manner," The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports.

"When my 19-year-old daughter can't carry a .22 rifle off our property but we can send her off to war—I don't agree with that at all," Manke tells the Chinook Observer.

"The Washington State Constitution states the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of themselves or the state shall not be impaired," says Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer. "If they wanted to make a change in the Constitution to make it legal, I'm saying that this initiative is not a proper way to go about it."

When asked what he would do if courts uphold the initiative as constitutional, Songer responded: "We always have discretion in enforcing the law — do I need to say any more?"

They're not alone in refusing to disarm their citizens.

"Songer joins Republic Police Chief Loren Culp and Wahkiakum County Sheriff Mark Howie in refusing to actively enforce I-1639, in a decision that state authorities have found difficult to mount opposition against," local radio station 770 AM KKTH reports.

That's led the state's liberal attorney general to threaten arrests.

"In the event a police chief or sheriff refuses to perform the background check required by Initiative 1639, they could be held liable if there is a sale or transfer of a firearm to a dangerous individual prohibited from possessing a firearm and that individual uses that firearm to do harm," Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson warns.

Other states are considering passing their own versions of Initiative 1639. The standoff will almost certainly led to multiple court challenges, from constitutionalists challenging the initiative to lawsuits seeking to block the state from arresting dissenting sheriffs.
 Source: AAN
Tags: Issues: Guns, Culture War, AAN Exclusive; Categories:

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