Posts in Washington
Law Enforcement Officer in Washington Won't Enforce Law

See how many betrayals of “conservative principles” you can find in these three paragraphs, from the AP and reported in KOMO News:

A city in Eastern Washington is considering becoming a "sanctuary city" to shield itself from gun laws after its police chief says he won't allow his department to enforce the regulations passed by voters under Initiative 1639, saying the new gun laws violate the Second Amendment.

Initiative 1639 raises the age limit to buy some weapons from 18 to 21 and opens a gateway to prosecute people who sell guns to customers who can't legally own them. It also requires guns to be safely stored at home.

Republic Police Chief Loren Culp says he's instructing Republic police officers to not enforce I-1639 when it becomes law on Jan. 1.

King County (WA) to Require Warning Signs at Gun Dealerships

The analogy of treating the gun industry the way we treated big tobacco is one that’s used fairly often, but I can’t remember an act more directly related to this approach than what the King County Board of Health just did in Washington state:

The King County Board of Health has unanimously passed what is believed to be the west coast’s first law requiring stores selling firearms to post warning signs at entrances and cash registers. The regulation also requires the warnings to be posted at firing ranges.

Board of Health rules and regulations have jurisdiction throughout the county, including within all 39 municipalities and unincorporated areas.
First proposed by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott this past summer, the signs will warn of the increased risk of suicide, fatal acts of domestic violence, and unintentional deaths to children in homes where a gun is present.

The law, put into place by the nation’s 13th largest county would also require the signage to include contact information for suicide prevention hotlines. Dealers not complying will face a fine of $100 per day.

Washington has been in the news a lot lately on the issue of guns - a King County judge last month upheld a Seattle safe storage law, and a pro-regulation initiative was overwhelmingly passed by the state’s voters on election day. This latest action in King County a clear example of local officials seeing a problem, and seeking to solve it.

According to the Board of Health, guns were the third-highest cause of death in Washington in 2015, the most recent year data is available. Seven-hundred and fourteen died after being shot that year, and 75 percent of those deaths were suicides, according to the state Department of Health. Of the 714 killed by guns in 2015, 146 lived in King County.

Washington Voters Passed a Raft of Stricter Gun Regulations

Obviously, the biggest story of last Tuesday played out in hundreds of individual races between candidates that decided the legislative future of individual states and the nation as a whole. But one of the must under-reported stories when it comes to attempts to regulate firearms has been some creative ways activists and municipalities have taken the issue directly to voters.

  Photo by David Ryder for Crosscut

Photo by David Ryder for Crosscut

The best example of this was in Washington, where the passage of Initiative 1639 could usher in a number of new laws , including raising the minimum age for purchase, toughening background checks, mandate a waiting period, and generally speaking vault Washington to among the nation’s foremost gun regulating states. The fight, however, is not over:

Though the initiative passed, its final outcome is likely to drag beyond November. Opponents have already been mulling lawsuits, mostly on the accusation that raising the purchasing age of firearms is a constitutional violation.

It would not be the first legal battle faced by the initiative. Opponents challenged the measure to try and block it from the ballot. A Thurston County judge sided with them in August, tossing out the measure. But the state Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

“There’s likely going to be additional work to get it implemented,” said Paul Kramer, the initiative’s citizen sponsor, whose son was injured in the 2016 Mukilteo shooting. “It’s not necessarily a slam dunk. But I have every intention to see it through to the end.”

Catholic Bishops Endorse I-1639

From the Catholic News Service:

The Catholic bishops of Washington state endorsed a ballot initiative that would boost gun safety measures and restrict the purchase and ownership of firearms.

Citing numerous incidents of mass shootings in recent years nationwide and in Washington, the bishops said their stance is rooted in Catholic social teaching on the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, which “demands that the Catholic Church engage in solutions to help prevent these horrific occurrences.”

Initiative 1639 (technically the Changes to Gun Ownership and Purchase Requirements Measure) calls for expanding background checks, mandates safety training for gun ownership, promotes safe storage rules, and raises the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic assault rifle to 21 years old. It will be voted on November 6 by all residents of Washington state.

Court Deals Big Loss to the NRA
  Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Last July, Seattle passed a law saying that responsible gun owners had to be responsible with the guns they owned, keeping them locked up or facing a $500 fine. The fine jumped to $1,000 if a minor was allowed access to the weapon, and $10,000 if their weapon was used during the course of a crime. It was, in the words of Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes “eminently reasonable legislation meant to protect the children and the vulnerable.”

Naturally, the NRA sued. And last week, King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde threw the lawsuit out.

“As we take urgent action to save lives, our courts have sided with Seattle over the NRA,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in response to the dismissal. “We will continue to work with our partners to stop irresponsible legal challenges to this commonsense, life-saving measure.”

An appeal is likely, but for now courts have yet to officially weigh in on the legality of the Seattle law.