Washington police chief proposes ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary City’ law
The NRA and Second Amendment Foundation have now sued to block I-1639, the sweeping gun control initiative just passed by voters that, among other things, raises the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. But even before the legal challenge, a police chief in a small Eastern Washington town declared he would not enforce the new gun rules and has moved to establish a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary City.”
Initiative 1639 won nearly 60 percent of the vote, but most of that came from counties west of the Cascades. It was overwhelmingly rejected by all but two eastern Washington counties, including Ferry County, where the police chief of the small town of Republic — population about 1,100 — never expected the initiative to pass.
“I couldn’t see the Washington state voters if they would have read this initiative, which I doubt most of them did, I couldn’t see most of the voters in Washington state voting this in,” said Republic Police Chief Loren Culp.
He was appalled when he realized it had passed.
“It is an initiative that totally tramples on the rights of citizens. Mostly in the 18 to 21 year old range, but it also requires people to submit to invasion of their privacy through their medical records. It’s totally against my oath of office which is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Washington state and I will not enforce it,” Culp explained.
2nd Amendment Sanctuary City
Not only did the Chief decide he and his officers would not enforce the strict new gun laws, he took the issue to the city council last week in the form of a resolution, he later posted on Facebook proposing the jurisdiction become a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary City.”
“That says that the City of Republic will not enforce any of the rules or regulations that violate citizens rights to include the Second Amendment and the Article 1 Section 24 of the state Constitution which states that ‘the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired’ and this definitely impairs the constitutional rights of citizens,” Culp said.
From his perspective as a cop, he is simply doing his duty and there is no alternative.
“I couldn’t enforce this anymore than I could enforce a law being passed that says citizens don’t have the right to peacefully assemble or speak their mind or attend a church of their choice. It’s a constitutional right just like those are, and I can’t imagine any law enforcement officer going against oath of office to enforce any of the other constitutional amendments and I can’t see anyone in their right minds that would enforce this either,” Culp said.
Beyond the constitutional issues he says there are other concerns with the new rules, including criminalizing safe storage, defining every semi automatic rifle as an assault weapon and more.
In addition to asking his District 7 state legislators to introduce similar legislation in the upcoming session, Culp’s 2nd Amendment Sanctuary City resolution also calls on other local jurisdictions to join Republic’s effort by passing their own sanctuary legislation. And he says they’re already hearing from interested communities.
The small town is also getting national attention after Ted Nugent — a passionate defender of the Second Amendment — shared Chief Culp’s post on Thursday and again today praising Chief Culp as an “American freedom warrior.”
Chief Culp expects the issues surrounding I-1639 will be resolved in court, but no matter what happens there or at the city council level, he says he and his officers will not enforce those gun laws.
The chief has strong support from Republic’s mayor and others in the city so he is hopeful the council will have his back and approve the resolution. The council is set to take the issue up at a Monday meeting, but it is not clear if they will be ready for a vote. They are looking to possible consequences of such an action, something Chief Culp was not concerned with.
“There is no legal basis for any lawsuit against me for not enforcing this. The legal basis is Article 1 Section 24 of the state Constitution and if they want to use that as toilet paper then I guess they can do whatever they want,” Culp said.
The state Attorney General’s office would only say that it will review the ordinance should it pass.