Local businesses hold petition signings for Initiative 1639 gun control laws

RaeLynn Ricarte

The list of local businesses where people can sign the petition to repeal Initiative 1639 gun control laws continues to grow, says Dan Wallace, organizer of the campaign for the northern sector of Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties.
He said the goal is to collect 10,000 signatures from this area by the end of the year. In order for Initiative 1094 to qualify for the statewide ballot in November 2020, roughly 300,00 signatures have to be turned into the Secretary of State's office by Jan. 3.
Community members are invited to a petition signing event from 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Fired Up Brewing in Colville, 1235 Main Street.
Wallace is retired from an Air Force career and said that he didn't expect to be on the front lines of the fight to protect civil rights, but there is no way he can sit on the sidelines after taking his oath to defend the constitution. He calls on other veterans to fulfill their oath and help with the mission.
“At some point, people are going to realize that they are losing their liberties and freedom,” he said. “The time to do something is now because, if people don't stand, that moment of realization is going to come too late.”
As of Monday, petitions were available at Double Eagle Pawn Shop in Deer Park, Hartell's Saw & Tractor in Chewelah, Red Bridge Farm and Boulder Creek Saddle Shop in Kettle Falls and Republic Arms in Republic. Petitions can also be signed at these Colville businesses: Clark's All Sports, Colville Fastener, A Automotive Tire Pros, Nomad's Wrecking and Salvage, and Parker Glass.
Wallace is seeking volunteers to help him man a table outside Walmart on Nov. 23 and 30. He also needs help at Walmart on Dec. 6,7,13,14,20,21 and 26.
“People can also get sheets and walk their neighborhood to gather signatures — I will take all the help I can get,” said Wallace.
All three Stevens County Commissioners have signed the petition and Wes McCart, chair of the elected body, gave this statement about their support: “We have taken an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and Washington State, and we take this oath very seriously.  
“Further, we believe in a strict interpretation of the constitution as the framers intended. All three of the Commissioners support "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." As such, we support the petition and movement to repeal 1639.”
Stevens County Sheriff Brad Manke and Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen have both signed the petition that rolls back rules that were enacted after passage of I-1639 in 2018. Both elected officials said they believe those rules violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 24, of the Washington Constitution.
“I support the repeal of I-1639 and believe the people of Washington ought to make their voices heard on this issue,” said Rasmussen. “This is an opportunity to exercise an important right.”
Manke is one of 27 sheriffs in the state who are refusing to actively enforce I-1639 regulations until National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation challenges in state and federal courts have been decided.
“I didn't agree with 1639 in the first place and it only makes sense to put my name on this petition,” he said. “I don't want to get my hopes up because of the way the west side of the state votes, but I-1094 give us a chance to get something to the ballot box and try to turn this thing around.”
Colville Mayor-elect Ralph Lane Jr. is also signing the petition for he same reasons.
“I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment and I was raised with guns,” he said “I never thought that I'd see a lot of the things that have come to pass in the last 10 years, but I-1639 is not a good one and needs to go.”
Wallace and John Valle, a Stevens County resident who helped author I-1094, believe that the measure has a good chance of passing now that state citizens understand how invasive I-1639 rules are.
Wallace said not only do you have to pay more to get a gun and wait longer for approval to take it home, you waive the right to privacy with your medical records so state officials can access them to decide if you should be allowed to own a gun. In addition, gun owners caught with an unlocked firearm can now be fined $500.
If a person's gun is stolen and used in a crime, the owner can be fined as much as $10,000, according to a recent report by the Seattle Times.
Valle said the campaign to get I-1639 approved was based around child safety so many people supported it without really understanding how far-reaching it was.
“Many people really did not know what they voted for,” said Wallace.
Valle said 20,000 petitions have been printed and placed at six distribution points across the state. Wallace and others are picking them up and circulating them around the state.
Wallace can be reached atprolibertarte@gmail.com.