County opposes I-1639

RaeLynn Ricarte
Managing Editor

The Stevens County Commission approved a resolution Monday, Feb. 4, opposing implementation of Initiative 1639 or any other gun control bill that restricts the Second Amendment rights of citizens.
“We have taken an oath of upholds the U.S. Constitution and laws of the state of Washington,” said Wes McCart, chair of the board. “This resolution is that fine line between how far you can go before you go too far.”
Although the commission had initially thought to go with a proclamation, more of a philosophical statement, they settled on a resolution, a legislative stance, that mirrors the one recently adopted by Cowlitz County.
“Our goal is to inform the populace and have them research this constitutional issue,” said Commissioner Steve Parker.
He said county officials wanted to any refusal of I-1639 enforcement because that is the purview of the sheriff and prosecutor.
Resolution 18-2019 confirms that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.
Also included is an acknowledgement that reidents of Stevens County derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting using all types of firearms allowed by both constitutions.
“Any provision or application of I-1639, and any trailer bill, or any bill similar thereto, which restricts the individual rights of U.S. Citizens...will create economic hardship on lawfully owned and operated small business firearm dealerships will create undue burdens and prices increases on persons to lawfully purchase firearms; will have a direct negative impact on lose economies through job loss and sales tax loss; will create a layer of burdensome, troublesome and unlawful government regulation,” states the resolution.
The final paragraph take an opposition stance not only to -1639 but “the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the lawful rights of [Stevens County] residents to keep and bear arms and would consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful application of its legislative and governance authority or duties.”
Parker believes the passage of I-1639 demonstrates that many Americans, especially residents of large urban centers who carried the vote, do not understand how important their constitutional rights are as a safeguard from tyranny.
“This demonstrates a failure of the public school system because too many people don't even really understand where their freedoms come from,” he said.
I-1639 was approved Nov. 6 by a 60.33 percent margin statewide, but only 13 of Washington's 39 counties supported it. All of the counties in favor were in Western Washington except for Spokane and Whitman counties.
While Spokane approved the measure with 51.1 percent of the vote, Stevens County rejected it by 72.1 percent.
The measure raises the minimum age for adults to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21, redefines “assault rifles,” and mandates safety classes for purchases. In addition, it requires firearms dealers to sell trigger locks and gun safes, and prevents them from selling to out-of-state residents.
The law would also make firearms owners criminally liable if their guns were involved in any criminal incidents, even if the weapons were stolen.
The measure is being challenged for its constitutionality in U.S. District Court by the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
A motion to dismiss that suit was filed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Safe Schools Safe Communities, the leading proponents of I-1639, will be heard Feb. 15.
In a written statement, Ferguson's office said that he believes I-1639 is constitutional and is committed to making sure the will of voters is respected and it stands as law.
“If you go back in history , you will find multiple examples where the will of the people had to be shaped by law,” said Parker, a former educator.
“This [I-1639] is one of the times when that will was used to overturn part of the constitution that was created to protect us. This measure is like Pandora's Box, once it was opened, trouble follows.”