Attorney General Bob Ferguson warns gun dealers in counties where sheriffs say they aren’t enforcing
SPOKANE, Wash. — In a letter to more than 200 gun dealers in counties where law enforcement leaders have said they won’t be enforcing 1639, Attorney General Bob Ferguson says gun dealers need to make sure they follow the letter of the law themselves.
“We want to be as sure as possible that fire arms dealers are not lulled into a false sense of security by a local sheriff who says they won’t be enforcing the initiative,” Ferguson said, “we did it in an abundance of caution to make sure they are not confused by these statements by local law enforcement, which are frankly political and not legal statements.”
He warns that sheriffs are not the only ones enforcing laws, and that they are still held to both state and federal laws, and if they don’t follow them they could face federal criminal charges in addition to losing their license.
“1639 is the law until a court says it isn’t constitutional which has not happened,” Ferguson said, “its the law and everyone has to follow it.”
Thursday’s letter closely follows a letter sent to law enforcement earlier this week.
In speaking with owner of Spokane’s Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop, she said it rubbed her the wrong way, and came off as threatening.
“It feels like bullies on a playground,” said Robin Ball, “there’s a lot of pushing and shoving between the Sheriffs Association and the Attorney General’s Office.”
She says she thinks the letter doesn’t really have any weight behind it.
“It doesn’t have any teeth, so I think its all about politics,” she said, “they are staying ahead of what is to come.”
Ball is planning to fight the new law in court, but says the part of it already in effect, raising the purchasing age of semiautomatic rifles from 18-21 hasn’t really hit her hard.
“That clientele isn’t typically buying that kind of product,” she said, “shotguns are pretty common at that age.”
She notes that other dealers have been more impacted.
As the battle over the now law continues she says she feels that there are just a lot of unknowns still out there about it that still need to be figured out.
“There’s a lot information that we just don’t know yet,” she said, “especially on the training side, and I’d like to get that from the state as soon as possible.”
The remaining parts of the law go into effect on July 1, which includes enhanced background checks, which will be handled locally, potential charges of $25 on the purchase of semiautomatic weapons to fund those checks, as well as additional training requirements.
“As this progresses and we get closer to that July point and people start paying attention to the rest of the provisions, I think we are going to see a change in our business,” she said.
She also worries that local law enforcement agencies will be swamped with the additional background check requirements.
To read 1639 click here.
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