Four major Evergreen State law enforcement organizations representing the overwhelming majority of sheriff’s deputies, local police and state troopers have lined up against Initiative 1639, which would make Washington’s gun laws among the strictest in the nation.
On Tuesday, the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association (WSPTA) became the fourth law enforcement group to announce its opposition to I-1639. They joined with the Washington State Sheriff’s Association (WSSA), Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA), which, according to retired Pierce County Sheriff’s detective Bill Burris, amounts to “universal opposition” by rank-and-file law enforcement organizations. These groups represent thousands of lawmen and women across the state.
Burris is president of the Washington Arms Collectors, a grassroots guns-and-gear group that has joined with National Rifle Association and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in a cooperative effort to fight the initiative.
In a statement, WSPTA President Jeff Merrill noted, “Local, County and State law enforcement officers from across Washington are united in opposition to I-1639. Concerns include the inability to enforce ‘feel good’ provisions within the proposal. Unenforceable gun control laws are not effective. Individual accountability, stiff penalties for firearms violations and consistent, swift court sentences are far better deterrents than adding additional restrictions to law abiding firearms owners.”
Meanwhile, in an email blast Tuesday, the “Safe Schools, Safe Communities” group sponsoring the 30-page initiative declared that the NRA this year has spent $2.7 million “on its deadly agenda” and complained that the organization has teamed up with Washington gun groups to defeat the measure.
But wait. The NRA so far has contributed only $150,000 to fight I-1639, according to the Public Disclosure Commission.
Perhaps the gun control lobby is alluding to all the money that NRA has spent nationwide battling billionaire-backed gun control efforts. The group claims to be “fighting (NRA’s) deep pockets and well-organized misinformation campaign.” But is that accurate?
According to the PDC reports, when it comes to deep pockets, the gun prohibition lobby has cornered that market in Washington, where the I-1639 campaign has raised more than $4.5 million against the $220,000 raised by Washingtonians and the National Rifle Association for Freedom, plus the $34,000 raised by Save Our Security and another $26,000-plus reported by a group calling itself Shall Not Be Infringed.
By no small coincidence, law enforcement is battling a separate initiative whose backers have raised more than $2.5 million to push Initiative 940, which critics believe would place undue restrictions on police use of force. According to the PDC, the Coalition for a Safer Washington has raised about $117,755 to fight the initiative, and another $24,025 has been raised by Cops Against I-940/WACOPS.