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Rantz: Bob Ferguson threatens sheriffs over guns, but gives pass to Seattle heroin sites

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. (AP file photo)

Sheriffs, you better enforce the constitutionally questionable 1639 or you’ll be held liable. But Seattle city officials? Go ahead and ignore the law, move forward with heroin injection sites.

This is tacitly the message coming from Attorney General Bob Ferguson. He doesn’t enforce the law, he uses his office to push progressive policies that he thinks will land him in the governor’s mansion.

At least 13 county sheriffs have indicated they won’t proactively enforce 1639, citing very specific issues they have with the bill: taking away rights from 18-20 year olds, enforcing new gun storage standards that would require them to go door-to-door, and annual check-ins with gun owners to see if they’re legally able to possess their guns.

Ferguson knows these are valid concerns, so he’s attempting to reframe the argument.

In a letter to law enforcement officials, Ferguson focuses on enhanced background checks, which, as far as I can tell, no sheriff has spoken out against in any meaningful way. Ferguson thinks he can win this specific argument by pretending that’s the concern of sheriffs, which would, of course, demonize them in the minds of folks who are undecided on 1639.

We’ve reached out to Ferguson’s office. His Communications Director, Brionna Aho, claims the letter isn’t an example of the AG going after sheriffs and, if you hold that position, “you have not read the letter.”

But I have read the letter and the intent is crystal clear: Ferguson wants you enforcing 1639 in its totality, since he believes it’s constitutional. Indeed, Ferguson writes: “Local law enforcement officials are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our duty to enforce Washington laws and protect the public.”

But there’s no public push to enforce drug possession laws, which heroin injection sites would openly violate. Heroin possession is illegal under RCW 69.50, yet Ferguson sits idly by as the City of Seattle moves forward to legalize heroin use with injection sites so unsafe, they need to be medically supervised. And his office refuses to go on record about why he won’t engage in this issue.

I asked Aho if Ferguson believes that sheriffs – or anyone – can be held legally responsible for failing to enforce this RCW, should heroin injection sites continue to move forward in Seattle. And I asked if he has offered any guidance to Seattle or King County leaders on this issue. Aho didn’t respond to that and it appears she doesn’t appreciate my comparison.

My point is valid, which is why his office is silent. Ferguson hates guns and will do anything to get them away from the family in Enumclaw or the single mom in Burien. But he approves of heroin injection sites as a means to reduce the harm done by the heroin epidemic. Of course, heroin injection sites don’t treat addicts and it’s never safe to use, but his progressive base doesn’t care, so why should he?

This is hypocrisy plain and simple.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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