A majority of Washington State’s 39 sheriffs have come out in opposition to anti-gun Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The sheriffs oppose I-594 because it will not make anyone safer, will strain scarce law enforcement resources, will criminalize the lawful behavior of millions of law-abiding gun owners in Washington and will be unenforceable. Instead, I-594 would vastly expand the state’s handgun registry and force law-abiding gun owners to pay fees and get the government’s permission to sell or even loan a firearm to a friend or family member.
To date, 22 of the 39 sheriffs have publicly opposed I-594.
Here is what some Washington State Sheriffs who oppose I-594 have to say about this ill-conceived initiative:
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane County: “I-594 is just another attempt to erode the Second Amendment.”
Sheriff Alan Botzheim, Pend Orielle County: “[I-594] is focused on honest hardworking citizens and making them criminals when they are not criminals.”
Sheriff Steve Mansfield, Lewis County: “I-594 does little to nothing in addressing the high profile shooting sprees and massacres that have pushed the gun control advocates’ agenda: registering, restricting and controlling the law abiding citizens’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The very fact that this legislation further expands the government’s massive database on law abiding citizens is even more disturbing. Government cannot address the serious mental health issues at the root of this violence through gun control. It won’t work.”
Sheriff Scott Johnson, Pacific County: “While I am sure the initiative was well-intended, it would not solve the problems we in the law enforcement community face. “
Sheriff Brian Burnett, Chelan County: “My biggest concern is that this initiative is a fast track in turning many law abiding citizens into potential criminals.”
Sheriff Frank Rogers, Okanogan County: “I-594 will do nothing to stop the bad guys….it just puts more of a burden on the folks that follow the law.”
Sheriff Ben Keller, Garfield County: “This initiative is a violation of the Second Amendment. I come from a gun owning family and it would be a crime every time someone wanted to use my trap gun at a trap shoot. Being in law enforcement for 24 years, this initiative is not going to keep guns off the street. What keeps guns off the street is keeping the felons that are using the guns illegally in jail.”
Sheriff John Hunt, Adams County: “I believe that the current proposal would put an unnecessary strain on law enforcement agencies without any additional funding, and will not affect in any way the ability for criminals intent on getting a firearm to do so.”
Sheriff Pete Warner, Ferry County: “I wholeheartedly oppose I-594. It’s just stupid. It penalizes the honest and law abiding citizens, and does nothing to keep the criminals from having firearms.”
Sheriff Brett Myers, Whitman County: “I-594 is like requiring everyone to pay for a buffet dinner on the “honor system” while leaving the door open at the other end of the food line. In the end only the honest patrons will pay and those who don’t, still eat all they want.”
Other sheriffs opposing I-594 include:
Sheriff Steven Keane – Benton County
Sheriff Bill Benedict - Clallam County
Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal – Douglas County
Sheriff Richard Lathim – Franklin County
Sheriff Thomas Jones – Grant County
Sheriff Rick Scott - Grays Harbor County
Sheriff Wade Magers – Lincoln County
Sheriff Dave Brown, Skamania County
Sheriff Kendle Allen – Stevens County
Sheriff John Snaza – Thurston County
Sheriff Mark Howie – Wahkiakum County
Sheriff John Turner – Walla Walla County
Other law enforcement organizations including the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) and the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) also oppose I-594. Here is what these organizations had to say about their opposition to this initiative:
Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs: “As law enforcement officers, we do not believe that I-594 will keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals or the dangerously mentally ill. They will continue to ignore the law and engage in black market transactions.” For more on WACOPS’ opposition, click here.
Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association: “There are a lot of politicians, including some mayors and chiefs, who will tell you that I-594 is a good law designed to close the gun show loophole. This is not the truth. I594 is a law so broadly written that it clearly is designed to make criminals of all recreational shooters and most law enforcement officers. When you understand what it will actually do, then you too will oppose it.” For more on WSLEFIA’s opposition, click here.
For more on why I-594 would be disastrous for Washington’s law-abiding gun owners, go to www.VoteNo594.com.
Paid for by National Rifle Association of America Washingtonians Opposed to I 594, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
Top Five Contributors are: National Rifle Association of America