Ryan Gaydos reports for Fox News, Feb. 11, 2019, that sheriffs in 12, mostly rural, counties in Washington state are refusing to enforce a new gun-control law, Initiative 1639, that was passed last November, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
I-1639 is a sweeping measure that raises the minimum age for buying semi-automatic from 18 to 21, requires buyers to first pass a safety course, expands background checks and gun storage requirements.
The sheriffs are from these 12 rural counties: Benton, Cowlitz, Douglas, Grant, Klickitat, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Yakima.
Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones told the Associated Press: “I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights. I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.” Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said 75% of voters in his county voted against the bill and called the new rules unenforceable.
The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing the measure is unconstitutional because it violates the 2nd and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. The suit doesn’t challenge enhanced background checks of or the training requirements.
Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms points out that although Initiative 1639 reportedly received 60% of the vote, it is urban-centered.
Like California and Oregon, a handful of urban centers dominate Washington state. As an example, just one city, Seattle, with a population of 766,893, accounts for as much as 10% of Washington state’s total population.
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