More sheriff's weigh in on I-1639 enforcement

So far, 21 county sheriffs have said they won't "actively" enforce I-1639.
By: 
Roger Harnack
Publisher

More county sheriffs continue to weigh in on the debate over enforcement of Initiative 1639.
Since Monday, Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury joined the growing ranks of those saying they won't actively enforce the gun-control measure.
I-1639, pushed through statewide mostly by voters in the Puget Sound region of the state, raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, requires more stringent background checks, redefines that type of firearm as "assault rifle" and mandates safety classes. The new law also requires firearms dealers to sell trigger locks and gun safes, and makes owners criminally liable for incidents in which their weapon is used in an incident — even if the gun was stolen.
The National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation have challenged the law in U.S. District Court.
"Until the legality of I-1639 is resolved, I instruct my deputies to take no enforcement action ...," Salisbury said in a memo to his staff Monday.
Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers voiced his reservations Tuesday, noting he does not think the measure is currently enforceable. However, Myers stopped short of joining other sheriffs who are explicitly refusing to enforce the law.
Myers is sheriff in one of only two counties east of the Cascades where residents supported the new gun-control laws. Whitman County is home to a more liberal population that comes to the area to attend or work at Washington State University.
Spokane is the only other Eastern Washington county where voters supported the measure, albeit by a narrow margin.
The other 18 counties in Eastern Washington all overwhelmingly opposed the measure, with more than 70 percent of voters rejecting the initiative in multiple counties.
In addition to Myers, another Eastern Washington sheriff is not yet ready to oppose the measure.
In Walla Walla County, Sheriff Mark Crider is warning residents and visitors to obey the law, as it will be enforced.
He is bucking the will of voters in his county, where 52.56 of voters said no to Initiative 1639.
And he isn't the only sheriff to come out with a pro-enforcement statement.
West of the Cascades, the sheriffs in Clark and Thurston counties, too, are enforcing the measure.
Clark County is home to Vancouver; Thurston is home to Olympia.
Clark County voters approved the measure with 54.01 percent support; Thurston County voters approved I-1639 with 57.43 percent in support.
Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins said his office will evaluate the requirements of the initiative and “adopt policy consistent with state law and any subsequent judicial rulings.”
Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza finds himself with mixed feelings on the measure.
Snaza told Western Washington media that he thinks its unconstitutional, but will enforce it.
Back in Eastern Washington, most sheriffs also agree its unconstitutional. As such, they say they cannot enforce I-1639.

Category: