On the ballot a few weeks back in Washington State was an extreme anti-gun initiative, I-1639, which passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Requires mandatory “safe storage” for firearms and holds gun owners criminally liable if a “prohibited person” obtains their weapon unless they can prove it was locked up. Failure to do so could result in a misdemeanor—or a Class C Felony, thus forfeiting your gun rights forever.
- You must waive your medical privacy by signing a document which would allow the Department of Licensing or a police agency to look at your medical records to determine whether you’re qualified to own a semi-automatic rifle.
- Gives authority to the State to create a new, “more comprehensive” background check system in the future
- Re-defines “semi-automatic assault rifle” (“SAR”) to include many common hunting and competition rifles
- Directs law enforcement and the DOL to develop a process to “verify, on an annual or more frequent basis,” that both handgun and SAR owners continue to be eligible to possess any firearm under state and federal law. It authorizes law enforcement to “take steps to ensure” that anyone who fails the verification process no longer possesses guns.
- Bans 18-20 year-olds from purchasing “SAR”s
Many in the state are understandably upset over the violations of their natural right to self defense as well as being forced to surrender medical privacy to the state, pushing not a few Washingtonians closer to the point of leaving the state.
A sheriff in the small northeast Washington town of Republic has a different idea: do not comply with the law.
Sheriff Loren Culp has instructed his staff—admittedly consisting of only a deputy—to not enforce the new regulations when they go into effect January 1 and July 1, 2019.
“I’m just standing up for people’s rights,” says Culp. “I had people asking if the Police Department was going to start arresting teenagers, 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds, carrying and using a semi-automatic .22 rifle. I told them, ‘I’m not going to infringe on someone’s constitutional rights.’”
But the town of Republic isn’t stopping there. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, an ordinance proposed by the Chief entitled “2nd Amendment Sanctuary City Ordinance,” was heard. It states that “all federal and State acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition are a violation of the 2nd Amendment.” It goes on to say that any such laws are “hereby declared to be invalid in the City of Republic.”
At the time of publication, neither the city’s website nor its Facebook page were updated with the results of the City Council meeting, but a video posted from the meeting captures Chief Culp rightly pointing out, “I did not ask for all of the attention that my position on this has brought. It’s a shame, really, that a police officer standing up for citizens’ rights is an anomaly.”
Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee, whose main accomplishment appears to be positioning himself among progressives as a reflexive Trump critic ahead of his 2020 run for president, has taken similar actions against various federal laws, such as declaring Washington a “Sanctuary State,” passing a state “Net Neutrality” law, and continuing on with the Paris Accord restrictions after President Trump pulled out. It remains to be seen whether Governor Inslee, with his apparent newfound love for the principles of federalism, will applaud the mayor and his actions.
The NRA has already filed suit and challenged the constitutionality of I-1639.