DORI MONSON

Gun rights activists mounting legal opposition to I-1639, AG Ferguson

Oct 22, 2019, 3:35 PM | Updated: 4:38 pm
washington gun control. gun law, gun law, firearm regulations...
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Washington voters approved gun control Initiative 1639 last year, but a group of gun rights activists remain dedicated to overturning it while also seeking to take down Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The Washington 3 Percenters officially began an effort to repeal I-1639 this week after their own ballot initiative was approved by the state.

Shooting range co-owner says I-1639 won’t stop gang shootings

“We will be starting a petition now, it’s I-1094, to repeal every part of 1639,” said Matt Marshall with Washington 3 Percenters. “…voter turnout in this last election was awful for Conservatives. Part of that was everybody was incredibly disenfranchised and had nothing to be excited about. Trump was already in office and I think everybody got caught back on their heels. I think with this law passing last time, having all the Conservative support, especially out of Eastern Washington, I think there is a very good chance we will be able to get this thing flipped if we can get it on the ballot.”

If they are successful, voters will be given the option to repeal 1639 on the November 2020 ballot.

I-1639, gun rights, and AG Bob Ferguson

Marshall argues that I-1639, despite being approved by 60 percent of Washington voters, violates the Constitution.

“Some of the most egregious are the Fourth and Second amendments,” he said. “As well as article 1, section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.”

“Those are just the constitutional arguments, but in general it just restricts access, restricts people’s ability to defend themselves,” he said. “And it was Bob Ferguson’s pet while he was in Seattle. He couldn’t get it passed through the Legislature, and he had to go and turn to the initiative process, which was clearly biased and skewed against the people with blatant lies, with unethical and illegal campaign finance violations in the way he endorsed it while he was campaigning and in office.”

Marshall says that requiring gun owners to safely secure their firearms, as regulated by I-1639, is a violation of the Constitution. He also objects to the fact that the law raises the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21, yet at the same time, citizens 18 and older can join the armed forces and be trained to use them.

The Washington 3 Percenters is a non-profit for constitutional conservatives. The group has made headlines recently with their objections to Washington’s new gun regulations and to Attorney General Ferguson’s agenda in office. The Seattle Times recently reported that members brought up the idea of making a citizens arrest of Ferguson at a recent meeting.

“We’ve talked about how we would love to do a citizens arrest, due to crimes while in office,” Marshall said. “However, we also know that is a romanticized ideal and would end up with people being hurt and a lot of other people going to jail. And the attorney general would go free …. we are not actually going to do that.”

Instead, the gun rights group is opting to file formal citizen complaints in Thurston County District Court. They are waiting to see if the judge will move it forward.

How I-1639 is already affecting Washington gun sellers

“We will be requesting that he be charged criminally for his violations while in office,” Marshall said. “The meeting we had last week was specifically with Sheriff John Snaza of Thurston County to see if he would execute that arrest warrant if we were able to get it issued.”

“He would enforce every warrant, however, he said this was just not going to happen,” he said.

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Gun rights activists mounting legal opposition to I-1639, AG Ferguson