Ten Republicans and one Democrat have signed onto a bill in the Washington State House of Representatives aimed at repealing controversial gun control Initiative 1639, the 30-page measure passed in November that is now being defied by a majority of county sheriffs, at least one police chief and two county commissions.
Democrat State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has “warned” the sheriffs that they could face legal action if someone in their jurisdiction unlawfully gets a firearm and harms someone. KIRO radio’s Dori Monson wrote about that at MyNorthwest.com, calling Ferguson “the most dangerous politician I have ever covered in my 24 years on the air.”
House Bill 2103 is a 53-page measure that is dubbed “The People’s Defense of the Second Amendment Act of 2019.” Its prime sponsor is Spokane Republican Rep. Matt Shea, who is also a proponent of dividing the Evergreen State in half, with the eastside becoming the Liberty state.
The legislation may not gain much traction in the Democrat-controlled House, but it is stirring up a lot of discussion on social media, and grassroots gun owners are an unhappy bunch since I-1639 became law. It strips Second Amendment rights to purchase and own any semiautomatic rifle from young adults ages 18-20, and classifies all self-loading rifles as so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.”
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, in an exclusive interview with Liberty Park Press, suggested that the strongest reason anti-gunners had for pushing the initiative was so they could create a legal definition for an “assault rifle,” a weapon that the veteran lawman said really doesn’t exist. But, he theorized, by creating such a definition, at some later date the billionaire-funded gun prohibition lobby could launch another anti-gun initiative to outright ban all guns that fall within that definition.
According to KEPR News, Shea has received “thousands of emails from people opposing 1639.” Sheriff Knezovich said during his interview that he has been deluged by hundreds of callers in his county, many of them Democrats who initially supported the measure because it was advertised as a “school safety” effort. But now people are discovering what was really in the initiative and they are apparently fuming.
In an attempt to counter the uprising against their initiative, Seattle-based anti-gunners have been claiming in an email blast that the National Rifle Association “is coming at us with a NEW lawsuit” challenging the measure in federal court. In reality, the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation recently only changed their single federal lawsuit, withdrawing the original complaint and filing a new one that changed the defendants from Ferguson to include a municipal police chief, a county sheriff and the director of the state Department of Licensing. There is no additional lawsuit, as a Tuesday email implied by asserting that the NRA (they focus their wrath on that organization) now has a “relentless stream of lawsuits” challenging the measure.
Last year, SAF and NRA sued to keep the measure off the ballot because, as affirmed by Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon, the initiative petitions did not comply with state law. However, a week later, the liberal state Supreme Court overruled Dixon and put the initiative back on the ballot. It passed in November by just over 59 percent, while being rejected in a majority of the state’s 39 counties.
“We’re committed to protecting this first-of-its-kind blueprint for keeping our children and communities safe from the threat of semi-automatic assault weapons,” says the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “But if we lose this new case, we could lose ALL the progress we’ve made together to keep these weapons of war out of dangerous hands.”
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, in 2017—the most recent year for which data is available—Washington state suffered a single homicide that year that definitely involved a rifle. That’s out of 134 gun-related slayings for the year, which was fewer than the number of homicides committed just in the City of Chicago. During a typical year, the state reports less than a half-dozen rifle-related slayings.