Washington state sheriffs not planning on enforcing new gun laws

The state of Washington passed a raft of new gun control laws that went into effect this year and they have another batch making its way through the legislature right now. These regulations cover everything from most semiautomatic rifles and magazines above a given capacity to the minimum age to purchase a firearm. But not everyone in Washington is thrilled with these changes. Gun control may be popular in the major cities, but sheriffs out in the more rural counties are not, with some of them going on record saying that they have no plans to enforce these laws. (Guardian)

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 Rifle 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”.

Sheriff Songer is probably the most vocal and enthusiastic of the opposition, particularly if he indeed plans to “stand in the doorway” of gun owners’ homes should state or federal law enforcement arrive to confiscate their weapons. But Songer is far from the only one taking a stand. Sheriffs and police chiefs in Ferry County and other eastern parts of the state are similarly defying the new edicts, saying they will at least wait until pending lawsuits challenging the laws have made their way through the courts before making a final decision.

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.

All of this comes down to questions of supremacy. As long as we continue to have different levels of government taking diametrically opposing positions on matters of law, conflicts will continue. If a state can defy the federal government on one issue, why can’t a town or county do the same to the state? It’s madness and creates a muddled mess of regulatory confusion.