Small-town police chief, pro-gun groups want to ignore or overturn voter-approved Washington state gun law

Efforts have expanded to overturn or block enforcement of Washington state's ballot initiative that raises gun ownership to age 21 and strengthens purchase requirements, with the police chief of small-town Republic, Wash., declaring publicly he will refuse to enforce the new law.

Republic Police Chief Loren Culp, using the U.S. Constitution as rationale, posted on the town's Facebook page on Nov. 7: "As long as I am Chief of Police, no Republic Police Officer will infringe on a citizens (sic) right to keep and Bear Arms, PERIOD!"

The tiny northeastern Washington town of Republic, located 124 miles north of Spokane, 35 miles to the Canadian border and 297 miles from Seattle, is the county seat of Ferry County. Voters county-wide overwhelmingly voted 73 percent against the initiative, as the Ferry County Auditor reported. Recent United States Census results list Republic with a population of 1,062.

Culp posted that after he talked to "concerned citizens" after voters statewide passed the initiative 59 percent for to 41 percent against, he will uphold the Constitution, as "The second amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Furthermore, Culp wants the city council to pass an ordinance making Republic a "sanctuary city" against such laws, The Seattle Times reported. It remains to be seen how the council, set to meet Monday night, will handle the chief's proposal.

The term "sanctuary city" typically applies to jurisdictions that have passed laws limiting cooperation with federal policies on taking in immigrants.

Scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, the initiative raises the legal age to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21. Previously, the legal age was 18.

The new law also clamps down on background checks, waiting periods and storage requirements.

Among groups who have filed suit to block the initiative is a Spokane gun dealer and four "Young Adult Plaintiffs," The Spokesman-Review reports. They join the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation, suing on the basis that Initiative 1639 violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

Robin Ball, Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop owner in Spokane, and one of the plaintiffs, Spokane resident Nathaniel Casey, 19, are named in the suit challenging the new law. Casey, according to The Spokesman-Review, is a Boise State University student and in the Army Reserves.

The initiative also includes a 'safe storage' provision that, in some circumstances, makes firearm owners criminally liable if someone not allowed to access a gun uses it in a crime. That provision won't apply if, say, a gun is stolen that was secured, such as in a safe, and the owner reports the incident within five days, reported The Seattle Times.

In response to the lawsuit, The Spokesman-Review quoted Tallman Trask, Yes on 1639 campaign spokesman: "It's the same thing they've done for years," he said of the NRA and other gun-rights groups. "No matter what the challenges are, we're committed to defending 1-1639."

Gun buyers must pass an enhanced background check and prove they have taken a firearms-training course, reported King5 News. Buyers must also wait 10 business days to take possession of the gun.

Other gun proponents have stepped up their disdain for the new law, which the Washington secretary of state is expected to certify, along with all passed election results, on Dec. 6.

Jim Lydigsen of Selah, Washington, representing the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund has since publicly called for Eastern Washington to secede from Western Washington, echoing Republican state representative Matt Shea, Think Progress reported. Shea called for a religion holy war to stop abortion and same-sex marriage via a manifesto and proposes renaming Eastern Washington "Liberty" as the 51st state.

Conservative guns-right activist Ted Nugent has supported Culp on the singer's Facebook page.

Small-town police chief, pro-gun groups want to ignore or overturn voter-approved Washington state gun law | U.S.