Washington's AG says he'll defend gun law some sheriffs call unconstitutional

Washington’s AG says he’ll defend gun law some sheriffs call unconstitutional

Gun Rights

Joe Raedle/Getty Images (CNN) – Police chiefs who refuse to enforce Washington state’s new gun restrictions could be liable if that refusal results in someone buying a gun and committing a crime, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says. The new law, ballot Initiative 1639, adds background checks for buyers of semiautomatic assault rifles, and includes storage requirements and waiting periods for buying firearms. It also raises the age to buy semiautomatic rifles to 21. The section raising the minimum purchasing age went into effect January 1. The rest of the law, including the enhanced background checks, is to be implemented July 1. The new background checks would be identical to those the state has been performing for handgun buyers for years. The Seattle Times reported that sheriffs from 13 of the state’s 39 counties have signaled they won’t enforce the law. The Chinook Observer put that number at 20. In an open letter on Tuesday, Ferguson called out police chiefs and sheriffs who are refusing to enforce the law: "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." The letter also said, "Local law enforcement officials are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our […]

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