Should you choose to comply with the training requirements of I-1639, Practical Edge will be holding a basic firearm safety class that meets those requirements on Saturday, March 23rd at the Kennewick Sportsman’s Warehouse from 9:30am to 12:30pm sign up at Practical Edge by clicking here.
Don Brockett is the former Spokane County prosecuting attorney (1969-1994), and author of The Tyrannical Rule Of The U.S. Supreme Court: How The Court Has Violated The Constitution. He wrote this opinion piece which appeared in the Spokesman-Review on March 13, 2019.
Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a letter to gun dealers about the provisions of Initiative 1639. Ferguson previously criticized sheriffs who are resisting the passage of the initiative. The sheriffs are correct; the governor and attorney general are wrong.
As state elected officials, Inslee and Ferguson take the following oath: “… I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington, …”
The foundational documents of our state and nation are the Washington and U.S. Constitutions. These documents establish contracts between the people and their governments and form the basis for our constitutional republic. Both contracts have provisions for their change by amendment (WA Article XXIII, U.S. Article V).
Article I, Section 24 of the Washington Constitution provides:
RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired … .
The provisions of Initiative 1639 certainly “impair” the right to bear arms in violation of the provisions of the Washington Constitution and therefore can only be changed by amendment. Since the attempt to change the gun laws was not accomplished by that process, the provisions of Initiative 1639 are void.
In addition, Article I, Section 2 of the Washington Constitution provides:
SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.
The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
It is equally clear that the provisions of Initiative 1639 “infringe” on the right to bear arms under the language of the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution and are therefore void. Such a change would have to occur by amendment of that document.
Is it true that court proceedings should have to occur when laws are passed in violation of the mandated procedure? Even the ones that are void because of the manner in which they were established? The argument is made that Initiative 1639 expressed the will of the people. That may be true but all citizens and especially a lawyer guided by the contracts we call the Washington and U.S. Constitutions know that their provisions can only be changed by amendment. The initiative process allowed by Article II, Section 1 of the Washington Constitution is not an amendment.
A contract must be followed as written, until it is changed by amendment by the allowed procedure. Any other attempt to change the language or effect of the language in a constitution is void.
A simple example may make it clearer to see that the suggestions of the governor and attorney general would be dangerous. What if an initiative approved by the people were to take away the right of free speech or free press? Would they then argue that a vote on such an initiative should be followed until a lawsuit is brought and a court decides the issue? What if the initiative were to allow a search and seizure without a warrant being obtained based on probable cause? Would we all blindly accept such a change without the constitutional language being amended under the amendment articles and have to bring a lawsuit for a court to decide the issue? So even if the action is void we would have the burden to question it by filing a lawsuit and waiting for a decision in the meantime suffering a loss of our rights? To suggest such a procedure is ridiculous.
The governor and attorney general should obey their oaths and follow the provisions of the Washington and U.S. Constitutions or they should leave office. That is what they signed up to do.
Scott Brumback of the Washington Strikes Back movement will be speaking at the next LVA General Meeting on March 14th at Caffe Villa, 602 7th St, Prosser, WA at 6:30 PM. Washington Strikes Back seeks to hold AG Ferguson accountable for violation of his oath to uphold the US and Washington Constitutions and for overstepping the authority of his office.
Update from 3/6/19 as posted by Scott on Facebook:
Yakima filing update.
First, I talked with the district court clerk today. She is very nice, cordial, cooperative and is working to help this be a fair, open hearing. I detect no bias or consternation at all. Very professional. She’s helping to make sure we have a projector and screen to put up exhibits.
Second, we have a cause number that this action is filed under in the clerk’s office. It is: “Citizen 01”. We are the first. If you wish to submit an Affidavit, you may… do so. You can file the completed affidavit at the Yakima County District Court Clerk’s office this week. After that, I would recommend that you bring the affidavit to the court with you.
Third, we have a judge assigned from Benton County. His name is Judge Terry Tanner. He did his undergrad study at the University of Washington and law school at Pepperdine University. He is a prior city attorney for Richland, Pasco, West Richland and Connell. He appears to have a good background to hear this matter. I have no concerns at this point.
Fourth, the hearing is TENTATIVELY set for Friday, March 15, at 11:00 a.m. at the Yakima County District Court in Grandview, WA The district court clerk is still finalizing this. It may change, but I doubt it. I will post any update about that if it occurs.
Again, citizen attendance is welcome. Those who filled out Affidavits for Yakima are encouraged to attend. I hope that we all conduct ourselves accordingly. It is important for the judge to see concerned, responsible citizens standing up for their rights.
Below are videos of a seminar that he gave last month.
In the video below, Scott Brumback speaks at a Liberty State rally in Olympia.
In the video below, Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell discusses I-1639 at the same meeting as the seminar above.
UPDATE: This event has been cancelled. You could still ask the commissioners to support such a resolution on your own.
There is an effort afoot to get the Benton County commissioners to sign a resolution in opposition to I-1639 similar to the resolution signed by Franklin County commissioners on January 29th. The organizer, Lisa Thomas,
will be presenting a copy of the Franklin County resolution to the commissioners at the March 5th, 2019 commissioner meeting. If you can attend to support this resolution, that would be great. The board meeting is at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, Mar. 5 at the Benton County Courthouse in Prosser.
On behalf of Benton County, as a United States citizen, I am requesting that you (elected to represent me) sign a Resolution (just like Franklin County did- first in the State) supporting our Sheriff, and our Constitutional rights.
These gun initiatives are unconstitutional. They are infringing (impairing) my right to bear arms. When you took office, you took an oath: it is your DUTY to protect my rights.
A Resolution by Benton County tells the State, that we support our Sheriff (the CEO of our County); because it is also his duty to protect my rights and uphold the Constitution.
I have attached Franklin County’s template. I will draft my own and will be bringing it to Tuesday’s meeting to present during Public Comment- along with Radona Grossman-Devereaux who WROTE the repeal bill. Please be prepared to sign it.
You can send a supportive email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t make it to the meeting.
Sheriff Jerry Hatcher released the following letter today, declaring that I-1639 is non-enforceable as written, and that he has instructed his deputies to take no enforcement action:
Joining the growing chorus of Sheriffs and law enforcement chiefs against the laws passed in Initiative 1639, now Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer comes out to say he won’t enforce it, either. here an excerpt from the Yakima Herald’s article Drawing a line: Klickitat County sheriff says he won’t enforce Washington’s new gun law. While residents of Seattle and Olympia were only too happy to vote away the rights of others, most of the rest of the state voted against the initiative, giving yet more reason to separate into a new state.
Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer says he’s not enforcing the state’s new initiative that places stiff requirements on the sale and ownership of semiautomatic rifles such as AR-15s, calling it unconstitutional.
“I think it’s a bad law and I think it violates people’s rights,” he said. “This law will do nothing to stop crime or do anything to make our communities safer. But what it will do is make criminals out of our honest citizens.”…
Not all law enforcement agencies in the state are taking a stance as hard as Songer’s. But many are concerned about the constitutionality of the measure and the additional workload enhanced background checks will bring when the initiative takes effect in July, said Steven Strachan, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and Republic Police Chief Loren Culp announced shortly after the November general election that they wouldn’t enforce the new law…
In November, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the constitutionality of I-1639…
The November regular assembly meeting will be held at Caffe Villa, 602 7th St., Prosser, starting at 6:30pm. We will be taking nominations for the executive board election next month, and Jim Mackey will be giving a presentation on emergency well pumps.
UPDATE: Sheriff Hatcher will attend the meeting to answer questions about the recent passage of Initiatives 1639 and 940.
According to a news release from Save Our Security dated August 17, 2018, a Thurston County judge has stricken the Initiative 1639 petitions for being non-compliant with state law.
Today a judge on Thurston County’s Superior Court struck down the non-compliant and illegal forms used to gather I-1639 petitions.
We wish to commend the legal help from our allies at SAF and NRA in this fight. Keeping the ballot initiative process open and honest is important.
Barring any appeals to the state supreme court, this victory will stop I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The well-funded anti-Second Amendment groups may have lost this time on a technicality, but rest assured, they’ll be back again next year.
NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot
The Thurston County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association and ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The judge agreed the signature sheets did not comply with state law – the font size was too small to be readable and didn’t include strikethroughs.
“The National Rifle Association is glad to see the court today recognized how negligent, if not worse, gun control advocates were in their signature-gathering for this ill-advised ballot initiative,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We got involved because I-1639 tramples on the rights of Washington state voters, and because the way these anti-gun activists went about pushing their agenda was egregious. We applaud this decision, and will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”
Among other things, I-1639;
• Creates a gun registry for any transfers of commonly owned semi-automatic rifles;
• Introduces a 10-business day waiting period on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles;
• Imposes criminal liability on otherwise law-abiding gun owners who fail to store their firearms to state standards;
• Increases the age limit to possess or purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21;
• Mandates training prior to purchase;
• And authorizes a $25 fee to be assessed to semiautomatic rifle purchasers.
The initiative proponents will likely appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our law-abiding members in the Evergreen state.
Initiative 1639 will be on the ballot this fall (2018) unless it is stopped by lawsuit. Titled “AN ACT Relating to increasing public safety by implementing firearm safety measures, including requiring enhanced background checks, waiting periods, and increased age requirements for semiautomatic assault rifles and secure gun storage for all firearms,” this billionaire-funded initiative is much more dangerous than that language implies. The initiative is facing lawsuits over reported illegal petitions.
Washington Arms Collectors published the following facts about I-1639.
Initiative 1639 – An Attack on Every Firearm OwnerInitiative 1639 has been filed with the Washington Secretary of State:“AN ACT Relating to increasing public safety by implementing firearm safety measures, including requiring enhanced background checks, waiting periods, and increased age requirements for semiautomatic assault rifles and secure gun storage for all firearms.” We should all be informed of the contents so please go to the official copy online and read it, download it and print it out to share with others. Here is the web address:This initiative is now in the signature gathering phase and if enough signatures are collected it will go directly to the voters, not to the legislature. If passed I-1639 will become law on July 1, 2019.Every Semiautomatic Rifle is an Assault RifleLet me start with the initiative language that will do the most harm, the definition of an assault rifle.I-1639 creates the following definition:“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”The age of your rifle, collectability, ATF definition of the firearm as a Curio or Relic, caliber, rimfire or centerfire, tube or box magazine—none of this makes any difference, ALL semiautos are defined as assault rifles. Your kid’s .22 LR plinker is an assault rifle. Your Garand collection is a collection of assault rifles. Turn of the 19th to 20th century semiautos are assault rifles.You say that you hate those black plastic stocked AR-style rifles and wouldn’t have an “assault rifle” in the house? Too bad, the anti-gun community has outflanked you this time by including all of your wood stocked semiauto hunting rifles, all 22 semiautos and just about every rifle created from 1900 to now. Oh, antiques and inoperable firearms are generously exempted. So it’s not just Modern Sporting Rifles that have been included but all semiautomatic rifles.Registration of RiflesHow will this affect collector transfers, private transfers and all FFL dealer sales? Semiauto rifle transfers will be handled like pistols are now with additional forms, State registration and waiting periods.The Department of Licensing is authorized to keep, “copies or records of applications to purchase pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles.”Firearm Storage is CriminalizedWe all secure our firearms the best we can. Some can afford safes and others lock them up or use locking devices. I-1639 defines safe storage as follows: “Secure gun storage” means: (a) A locked box, gun safe, or other secure locked storage space that is designed to prevent unauthorized use or discharge of a firearm.” Oddly this definition excludes gun locks! Yet the initiative itself requires gun locks be provided with every sale. It appears that if one secures a firearm using a locking device it is by definition not in “secure gun storage.” Read the definition again—a secure storage SPACE seems to be required. And if you fail to have such a space and someone uses your firearm to do harm, you are the criminal.A new crime of “community endangerment” is created that will allow you to be charged and jailed if your firearm is taken and misused. Yes, if you have secured your firearms you may not be charged and in this section gun locks are mentioned along with secure storage. We all strongly support safe firearm storage but changing the law to shift the blame for a crime onto the victim of a crime is wrong. The message to the public and the legal system is that your formerly law-abiding gun ownership is a threat to the community.Annual Verification of EligibilityI-1639 will institute a system that annually reviews your record to determine your eligibility to own firearms. You should expect that medical records, mental health issues, and social security disability will all be reviewed to determine whether you can possess that old semiauto hunting rifle. And you thought we were trying to scare you with visions of the police at your door to confiscate your firearms.Out of State PurchasersResidents of other states have been able to purchase rifles and shotguns here in Washington. 1639 will end this reasonable practice for semiauto rifles. Our WAC members in Idaho and Oregon will be unable to come to our shows and collect these firearms.No Longer an Adult at Age 18At age 18, you can vote, you can be charged with a crime as an adult, be imprisoned or drafted and do other adult things but you can’t take your 22 rifle into the woods to plink and you can’t go hunting with a license and a semiauto. I-1639 judges you to be too immature to do these adult activities. Thinking about taking your semi to the range for practice or a DCM shoot Forget it—that would be illegal.What can a 18 year old do with a semiautomatic rifle? Stay at home on your own property. That’s it. The initiative states that a person, “ eighteen years of age, but less than twenty-one years of age, may possess a semiautomatic assault rifle only: (a) In the person’s place of abode; (b) At the person’s fixed place of business; (c) On real property under his or her control.”Seriously…if this becomes law you can’t take your children to the range to have some shooting fun with the 10-22.Government Safety Training RequiredThis initiative has costs that will be borne by firearm purchasers and owners. A new regimen of “safety” training to be delivered by government agencies is defined. Will it be free? Of course not and the price is not stated or limited. Firearm accidents are near zero in Washington. Death by firearm is either a criminal act or a suicide—neither is preventable through any kind of safety training. Hunter Safety classes teach safety and public and private firing ranges all provide safety training. This requirement is a bogus attempt to incorporate public safety into 1639 and increase the costs and create obstacles to firearm ownership.Trigger Locks requiredAnd you thought that trigger locks were already required? Well yes they are—by Federal law every firearm sold must have with a locking device. This section appears to exist only so that the initiative can masquerade as a safety measure. Nothing changes.Rifles are TaxedSure they call it a fee but this is a tax on semiauto rifles. A fee of $25 is to be assessed by dealers for the Department of Licensing to use in their registration of firearms.Multiple Initiative SubjectsWashington law requires that an initiative deal only with a single subject. In I-1639 we have changes to the age of firearm ownership, fees which are really taxes, storage requirements, changes to the definition of rifles and more. Most of the law changes would be in RCW 9.41. Still, there are obviously multiple separate and significant issues,not a single subject. This initiative is also falsely titled as dealing with “assault rifles.” These are flaws that may allow challenges but will not necessarily prevent a ballot vote. Don’t count on our courts to protect your rights–begin the fight now.This article from the GunNews magazine, Washington Arms Collectors, may be reprinted and distributed by all those acting in opposition to I1639.
The lawsuit challenges the measure on the grounds that it violates the commerce clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State constitution by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles.
“We are also considering additional legal challenges,” SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb confirmed. “We are disappointed that too many Evergreen State voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme, despite overwhelming law enforcement opposition. This initiative is an affront to the constitutional rights enshrined in the Second Amendment and the Washington state constitution, especially for young adults.
“We’re determined to fight this egregious measure because constitutionally-protected rights should never be subject to a popularity vote,” he stated. “The wealthy elitists behind I-1639 want to turn a right into a regulated privilege. This measure was only designed to have a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right by honest citizens while having no impact at all on criminals, and we cannot let it go unchallenged.”