Rep. Shea introduces bill to repeal I-1639

By: 
Roger Harnack
Publisher

A Northeast Washington lawmaker has introduced a bill to overturn gun-control measures enacted under Initiative 1639.
On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, introduced House Bill 2103 to overturn the initiative approved in November mostly by voters in the Olympia-to-Bellingham metropolitan corridor along Interstate 5.
“Initiative 1639 is unconstitutional in many respects and punishes law-abiding citizens, while doing nothing to keep firearms away from criminals,” Shea said while introducing the legislation.
The bill essentially strips language added to state gun laws after the passage of I-1639.
East of the Cascade Mountains, voters in 18 of 20 counties rejected the measure; Lincoln County led the opposition with more than 75 percent of voters rejecting the initiative that raises the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, redefines those firearms as “assault rifles,” mandates more stringent background checks and training, and makes owners criminally liable if their gun is used in an incident — even if its stolen.
Only voters in Spokane and Whitman counties favored the measure on the east side of the state.
In Western Washington, the measure passed in 11 of 20 counties, nine of which contain large cities.
Shea's bill faces an uphill fight as state law requires 75 percent of lawmakers to support overturning a measure passed by voters.
But Shea is not alone in his opposition to the measure.
At least 23 county sheriffs have said they will not enforce the law. And the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation have challenged I-1639 constitutionality in U.S. District Court.
Only three sheriffs have publicly stated they will enforce the measure now. They are Walla Walla County Sheriff Mark Krider, Clark County Sheriff Wade Majers and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza.
In addition to opposition from a majority of the sheriffs across the state, rural residents and firearms dealers have voiced opposition.
Some firearms dealers, like Matt Cieslar of Talos Tactical in West Richland, continue to sell firearms to adults ages 18-20 because of a loophole in the law.
The loophole closes July 1, when the semi-automatic rifles become redefined under state law as “assault rifles.” And the language of the law restricts the sale of “assault rifles,” but does not restrict the sale of semi-automatic rifles.
“Initiative 1639 is unconstitutional in many respects and punishes law-abiding citizens, while doing nothing to keep firearms away from criminals,” Shea said. “We live in a Republic, not a Democracy. A Republic is based on the rule of law which means every law that is passed must be constitutional.
“It is very clear this initiative is not, and thus the reason for the repeal.”

Category: