Sheriffs refusing to enforce new Washington state rules on semi-automatic weapons

Sheriffs in a dozen Washington counties are refusing to implement the state’s new restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic rifles.

A state-wide initiative authorized by voters in November raised the minimal age at which an individual may buy such weapons from 18 to 21, whereas including expanded background checks and gun storage necessities.

The measures have been seen as one of many extra complete of a collection of gun-control reforms enacted within the US within the wake of the college capturing in Parkland, Florida, final yr.


Nevertheless, the brand new guidelines have been challenged in a lawsuit filed in federal court docket by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Second Modification Basis.

The advocacy teams declare the brand new buying necessities violate the precise to bear arms and stray into regulation of interstate commerce, which falls beneath the purview of the federal, not state authorities. 

Sheriffs in 12 principally rural Washington counties, together with the police chief of the small city of Republic, have mentioned they won’t implement the brand new legal guidelines till the difficulty is settled by the courts.

“I swore an oath to defend our residents and their constitutionally protected rights,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones mentioned. “I don’t consider the favored vote overrules that.”

Supporters of the initiative say they’re upset, however famous the sheriffs don’t have any position in implementing the brand new restrictions till 1 July, when the expanded background checks take impact. 

The supply brings vetting for semi-automatic rifle and different gun purchases consistent with the prevailing course of for purchasing pistols. 

“The political grandstanding is disheartening,” mentioned Renee Hopkins, chief government of the Alliance for Gun Duty, which pushed for the brand new laws. 

“If they don’t [run the background checks], we could have an enormous downside.”

Initiative 1639 was handed by about 60 p.c of Washington voters, 9 months after a gunman killed 17 individuals at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The capturing sparked a shift within the nation’s political debate surrounding gun control and in consequence some states launched measures equivalent to ready intervals and the outlawing of high-capacity magazines. 


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9 states have authorized legal guidelines that enable the short-term confiscation of weapons from individuals deemed a security threat, with a number of extra prone to observe.

The lawsuit filed by the NRA and the Second Modification Basis doesn’t problem new restrictions on enhanced background checks or coaching necessities, solely the principles banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons to these beneath 21.

Nevertheless, the teams have requested the court docket to dam your entire piece of laws till it may be decided if different provisions contained inside it may be separated out from the procedures they want to block.

The state has requested the decide to dismiss the case.

Further reporting in AP

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