In 2018, Washington State voters passed I-1639, which increases the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, toughens background checks, enacts “safe storage” laws, and substantially increases the workload of the police.

In response to I-1639 passing in Washington, 12 Washington State county sheriffs and one police chief have stated that they will not enforce I-1639. This functions in a similar way to Oregon’s Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances (SAPO) that have been passed in 13 counties.

The Washington counties are: Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Cowlitz, Douglas, Benton, Pacific, Stevens, Yakima, Wahkiakum, Mason, Ferry and Klickitat.

However, Washington State Attorney General Ferguson has released an open letter condemning the sheriffs actions. Furthermore, Ferguson stated that law enforcement could be held liable if the sale/transfer of a firearm to someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm uses that firearm to commit a crime. “In the event a police chief or sheriff refuses to perform the background check required by Initiative 1639, they could be held liable if there is a sale or transfer of a firearm to a dangerous individual prohibited from possessing a firearm and that individual uses that firearm to do harm.”

As this story continues to develop, your OGO team will be monitoring the situation to keep you informed.