Police chief in eastern Washington says his officers won’t enforce new gun laws
REPUBLIC, Wash. — The police chief in Republic, Washington said on social media that he won’t allow his department to enforce the regulations passed by voters under Initiative 1639, saying the new gun laws violate the 2nd amendment.
Initiative 1639 passed with a statewide approval of nearly 60 percent of the vote. In Ferry County, where Republic is located, 73 percent of voters said no to the measure, which was 2,542 votes against.
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Initiative 1639 makes Washington’s gun laws some of the most strict in the nation. It raises the age limit for some gun purchases; it has a safe storage provision that can lead to criminal charges if gun owners allow someone not authorized to access a gun displays it or uses it to commit a crime; and puts an enhanced background check and waiting period in place for people who want to buy a semi-automatic rifle.
On a Facebook page called “Republic Police WA”, Chief Loren Culp wrote “The second amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As long as I am Chief of Police, no Republic Police Officer will infringe on citizens right to keep and Bear Arms [sic], PERIOD!”
The post has more than 2,000 shares on Facebook.
In a phone interview with KXLY, Culp said “We took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Washington, and [I-1639] completely flies in the face of both the U.S. and state constitution.”
The Facebook page also posted the text of a proposed ordinance for “prohibition on state and federal infringement of the right to keep and bear arms.” The ordinance also called on neighboring communities and jurisdictions in the state to pass similar ordinances, and for the copies of the ordinance to be transmitted to the lawmakers that represent that district for them to introduce legislation on the matter next session.
“I believe, eventually, this will be overturned in the courts, but that could take some time,” Culp said.
The city clerk in Republic tells KXLY the ordinance will be presented to the council Monday. She wasn’t sure if any action would take place or they would choose to table the item and schedule a special meeting to discuss it. Culp said he does not need the council’s approval to move forward with his enforcement policy.
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