Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott has added himself to the growing list of county sheriff’s in Washington State that are saying their department will not enforce Initiative 1639. The voter-approved initiative passed in November. It directs the 39 counties of Washington State to basically be as strict selling rifles, as they are selling pistols. It requires enhanced background checks, increased waiting periods, and increased age requirements for semi-automatic assault rifles. The initiative also makes someone who doesn’t lock up a firearm guilty of “community endangerment” if that firearm makes it into the hands of someone else.
Scott said in a letter to the Grays Harbor County Commissioners this week, “As Sheriff of Grays Harbor County, I feel it my duty to address the concerns brought to me by the citizens of our county regarding [the] initiative.”
KREM News reports that Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher wrote in a letter that I-1639, as written, is “non-enforceable,” while Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner wrote on Facebook that it “appears to violate the 2nd Amendment.” Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer told the Yakima Herald-Republic that he wouldn’t enforce it either and that he believes the new law is unconstitutional.
The initiative failed on Grays Harbor County’s November ballots, with 57.93 % voting “NO,” Statewide; 14 counties supported it (including the biggest) to pass it statewide by 59% “YES” votes.
Sheriff Rick Scott added in his letter that until the legality of the initiative is resolved, he has instructed his deputies to take no enforcement action as it pertains to that law.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson says on the state’s website that he is committed to upholding the will of the state’s voters in passing Initiative 1639. His website has information on the implementation of the new law.
As the list of sheriffs choosing not to enforce the law grows, so too does list of lawyers waiting to get it in court.