LOCAL NEWS

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office won’t actively enforce I-1639 — for now

Dec 4, 2018, 2:54 PM | Updated: 3:06 pm
lewis county sheriff i-1639...
(Lewis County Sheriff's Department)
(Lewis County Sheriff's Department)

When sweeping gun control reform in I-1639 kicks in next year, sheriff’s deputies in Lewis County won’t actively go after violators.

RELATED: Idea of sanctuary city for I-1639 is ‘fiction’

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on its Facebook page in November, stating that it won’t actively seek out violators of the recently-passed gun control legislation, I-1639, and will only enforce it as “violations arise through the course of an investigation.” The office cited court challenges to the law as the primary motivation behind its decision, that you can read in its entirety below.

As of mid-November, the Bellevue-based 2nd Amendment Foundation and the NRA are suing the state over the constitutionality of I-1639.

“It’s going to take a lot of money, some really good attorneys, and it’s going to take some time and patience,” Dave Workman with the 2nd Amendment Foundation’s told KTTH’s Jason Rantz shortly after I-1639 was passed.

RELATED: How I-1639’s court challenge will play out

Lewis County’s Sheriff’s Office now joins the town of Republic, Washington, as the second in-state law enforcement agency that has refused, in some way, to carry out the gun control regulations laid out in I-1639.

“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,” Republic Police Chief Loren Culp said in his own decision regarding the legislation.

As Lewis County joins Republic in opposition to I-1639, it’s becoming increasingly clear that enforcing it is going to be easier said than done at a state level.

“There’s no practical way you can force a local police department to enforce the law,” former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna told MyNorthwest in November. “We’ve distributed power to enforce laws that are designed to protect our safety and health to local governments — ultimately it’s up to the voters who live under that local government to decide whether or not they like it.”

It remains to be seen whether more towns or counties will follow.

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Lewis County Sheriff’s Office won’t actively enforce I-1639 — for now