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Matt Shea
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Matt Shea introduces bill to repeal I-1639 gun measure

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, speaks at a gun-rights rally, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. in 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Republican State Rep. Matt Shea introduced a bill Tuesday that would repeal the myriad gun restrictions laid out in I-1639.

RELATED: State AG issues warning to sheriffs not enforcing I-1639

“Initiative 1639 is unconstitutional in many respects and punishes law-abiding citizens, while doing nothing to keep firearms away from criminals,” said Shea in a written statement.

In its current form, the law represents the most sweeping, comprehensive gun control legislation in any state. It enacts waiting periods and background checks on the purchase of semi-automatic weapons, an increase to the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21, storage requirements for firearms, and a class-C felony for any gun owner whose firearm is used by an unlicensed party.

The measure was approved by nearly 60 percent of voters last November, but has been met with resistance in the days since.

The NRA and Second Amendment Foundation immediately filed a lawsuit shortly after Election Day, calling into doubt its constitutionality. It later withdrew and subsequently resubmitted its suit with new defendants.

RELATED: NRA’s I-1639 lawsuit withdrawn, refiled with new defendants

Meanwhile, Sheriffs in KlickitatLewis, Grant, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Benton, Franklin, Adams, Lincoln, Stevens, Ferry, and Kittitas County have all expressed that they won’t enforce the measure.

“We live in a Republic, not a Democracy,” argues Shea. “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.”

For Shea’s repeal bill, he touts bipartisan support in the form of its one Democratic sponsor, Rep. Brian Blake. Blake represents the state’s 19th Legislative District, comprised largely of the Washington coast, and including cities like Long Beach, Westport, and Longview.

House Bill 2103 still faces an uphill battle, though. State law requires a two-thirds majority in the state Legislature to repeal any voter-approved ballot initiative for the first two years its enacted. As of now, the Legislature is controlled by Democrats in both the House and Senate, who would likely be reluctant to to follow Rep. Blake’s lead in supporting Shea’s measure.

Past controversy for Matt Shea

Shea’s name has been in headlines since 2018, when he came under scrutiny before the November election for a Biblical “manifesto” that many found controversial, relating it to racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric common with white nationalists.

The document talked about how to wage a war according to points found in the Bible. It describes a holy army that should first offer peace, but “kill all males” if that peace is rejected. It also notes that a “tyrant” is someone who rules without God, and says assassinating a tyrant is just and not murder.

Shea was removed from his position as head of the House GOP caucus shortly after his manifesto was made public.

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