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Grays Harbor Commission passes resolution opposing implementation of gun initiative

Washington’s gun initiative would toughen background checks for semiautomatic rifles

Voters in Washington state will decide this fall on Initiative 1639, which would toughen background checks for people buying semiautomatic assault rifles and requiring safe storage of firearms.
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Voters in Washington state will decide this fall on Initiative 1639, which would toughen background checks for people buying semiautomatic assault rifles and requiring safe storage of firearms.

The Grays Harbor County Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday for a resolution opposing the gun control measures in Initiative 1639.

Commission President Randy Ross said, “We all agree this is a bad law and I will continue to say so and work through our local state legislators to find a fix for this initiative,” but voted against the resolution.

“It is not a good idea for commissioners to take a formal stand against a constitutional issue for which they have no legal or legislative control over,” he said before the resolution was passed.

In November, Washington voters passed Initiative 1639, adding more extensive background checks for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles, raising the purchase age for those weapons to 21, and mandating safe storage requirements for firearms. It passed with nearly 60 percent of voters approving the measure.

Commissioner Wes Cormier said a resolution is appropriate as the implementation of the initiative does affect the county “with regards to the budget.”

Commissioner Vickie Raines agreed with Cormier, saying, “The implementation of this law will impact the economy of the county” and a resolution would send a stronger message to state attorney general Bob Ferguson, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature about the county’s opposition to the initiative and the need to explore ways to fix it.

Ross said the resolution, “albeit well intentioned, does not speak to all the issues and opinions I have with the passage of I-1639 and its effects on gun rights, gun ownership and constitutional protections as identified in our U.S. Constitution.”

He said the economic impacts, including price increases on personal firearms and loss of jobs and sales tax revenues, listed in the resolution didn’t address the bigger problem, which is the burden local law enforcement faces enforcing a law many see as conflicting with the state and U.S. constitutions.

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