Evergreen State lawmen are taking a stand against Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee’s gun control proposals, and they’re saying so by way of a letter that has been posted on social media, so it is difficult to not notice.
Members of the Washington State Sheriff’s Association have posted the organization’s open letter, which now appears on the Facebook pages of several county sheriff’s offices. The group is “particularly concerned with the proposed so-called “assault weapons ban” and “permit to purchase” laws.”
The letter is signed by Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myers, president of the organization. Myers says Inslee’s gun control agenda is “inconsistent with Article I, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.”
“Restrictions that shift focus from offenders to law abiding citizens send the wrong message and erode constitutional guarantees upheld by the United States Supreme Court. ‘Magazine bans’ like the one passed by Washington’s legislature last year have already been ruled unconstitutional by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and mandated annual background checks to possess firearms are also under challenge,” Myers writes.
Inslee, and Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson have requested legislation this year to ban so-called “assault weapons.” A hearing on House Bill 1240 is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Olympia.
Inslee also wants a law requiring citizens to get training and a permit-to-purchase from the police prior to buying a firearm. This process would require a background check. A hearing on HB 1143 is also scheduled next Tuesday, in conjunction with the hearing on HB 1240.
The Sheriff’s Association letter notes
Later in the letter, Sheriff Myers observes, “The rise in violent crime that so concerns citizens has happened even as regulations and restrictions on firearm ownership have grown. Of course, this is because the people who commit violent crimes simply don’t concern themselves with obeying rules about guns. The people impacted by restrictions to constitutional rights are those who obey laws in the first place—the people who we know aren’t the problem.”
The letter spread swiftly across social media, with gun rights groups, various sheriff’s departments and a large legislative action group posting it on their individual Facebook pages. The letter has set off a lively discussion at the page of the Washington 2023 Legislative Action Group. Public reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive of Myers’ letter and the association’s position.
Coincidentally, sheriffs in Illinois are declaring they will not enforce provisions of the “assault weapons” ban signed into law earlier this week by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
This is not the first time Evergreen State sheriffs have opposed gun control. In 2018, Washington law enforcement organizations lined up against Initiative 1639, a measure outlawing ownership of “semiautomatic assault rifles” by young adults in the 18-20-year age group. Provisions of that initiative are being challenged in federal court, as is the ban on “high capacity” magazines the legislature passed last year.
In his letter, Sheriff Myers writes, “The members of the Washington State Sheriffs’ Association are responsible for two essential tasks. The first is to protect life and property by enforcing criminal laws. The second is to uphold and protect guaranteed rights. We take both responsibilities very seriously.”