Washington State Sheriffs Refuse To Enforce New, Strict Gun Laws: 'It's Unconstitutional On Several Grounds'

Aaron Homer

Some rural sheriffs in Washington State say they will not enforce the state's new gun laws -- which could wind up being some of the strictest in the country -- arguing that they are unconstitutional, the Guardian is reporting.

Some of The Country's Strictest Gun Laws

In the wake of recent mass shootings -- including one at a Las Vegas music festival in 2017 and another at a Parkland, Florida high school last year -- Washington's voters passed initiative I-1639 in 2018, which by-and-large regulates semiautomatic rifles. Since January 1, 2019, purchasers of such weapons must be 21 years of age or over, must undergo an enhance background check and complete a safety course, and must wait nine days to take possession of their weapons. Further, weapons must be stored properly, or their owners will face felony endangerment charges.

Washington's legislature, now controlled by Democrats, has demonstrated a willingness to take things even further when it comes to gun laws. Some proposals recently introduced into legislature would ban high capacity magazines and plastic guns made with 3-D printers. Other initiatives would require training for concealed carry permits, and remove guns and ammo during and after domestic violence incidents.

The Deep Divide Between Washington's Rural And Urban Population

Like other liberal West Coast states, Washington isn't all blue. In fact, the political and cultural divide between the state's urban, liberal voters and conservative, rural voters, is almost palpable. Of Washington's 39 counties, 27 of them - the least-populated, most rural - all rejected I-1639 handily. Statewide, however, the initiative passed by 60 percent to 40 percent.

It's in these rural counties where county sheriffs say they won't enforce the new laws. One of them is Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer.

"[I-1639] is unconstitutional on several grounds. I've taken the position that as an elected official, I am not going to enforce that law."

Over in Ferry County, Sheriff Ray Maycumber said that until the National Rifle Association's (NRA's) lawsuit against Washington's new laws is resolved, he won't be enforcing the laws, either. And if the NRA fails, he'll consider whether or not he wants to remain in law enforcement.

2nd Amendment Sanctuary Cities

Taking a cue from the illegal immigration debate, some elected officials in rural Washington are calling for towns and counties in the state to be "2nd Amendment Sanctuary Cities," where law enforcement would simply not enforce the new gun laws, and where residents would be protected by local law enforcement against arrest and confiscation of their weapons.