WA State AG to Sheriffs: Put Your Political Views Aside And Enforce Our Gun Control Law...Or Else

Townhall | 2/13/2019 | Staff
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Open letter to Washington’s sheriffs and police chiefs refusing to enforce Initiative 1639:

Numerous sheriffs and police chiefs have stated that they will not implement or enforce the initiative. I want to share my thoughts on this important issue, which affects both the safety of our communities and respect for the rule of law.

Laws - People - Washington - Representatives - Court

Like all laws passed by the people of Washington and their representatives, Initiative 1639 is presumed constitutional. No court has ruled that this initiative is unconstitutional.

I will defend Initiative 1639 against any legal challenge. My office defeated the legal challenge to the previous gun safety initiative passed by the people, and I am confident we will defeat any constitutional challenge to Initiative 1639 as well. Local law enforcement officials are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our duty to enforce Washington laws and protect the public.

Component - Role - Obligation - July - Initiative

I would like to focus on one component of Initiative 1639 in which you play a vital role, and have a legal obligation. Effective July 1, Initiative 1639 requires enhanced background checks for the purchase of semiautomatic assault rifles, which are identical to the enhanced background checks currently required for all handgun purchases in Washington state. Just like handgun purchases, local law enforcement officials are required to perform these background checks.

Local law enforcement has been performing these enhanced background checks for all handgun purchases in Washington state for many years. These enhanced background checks keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals who lawfully cannot own firearms because of a mental illness or criminal record. As far as I know, no Washington sheriff or police chief has refused to perform these enhanced background checks for handguns. Why refuse to perform them for semiautomatic assault rifles?

I am deeply concerned that...
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