Twelve days after Washington state’s controversial initiative 594 went into effect, Lewis County’s top law enforcement officials released a joint statement that they will refuse to enforce its provisions as written. They will instead concentrate on those offenders who intend to commit criminal transfers of weapons.
I-594 makes the transfer, including the lending, of a firearm by private parties without a background check a felony, according to KOMO News.
Sheriff-elect Rob Snaza and prosecutor Jonathan Meyer made their announcement three days after an estimated 1,000 armed gun enthusiasts gathered at the state capitol in Olympia to openly defy the law in a “I will not comply” rally.
“This isn’t just a protest,” said organizer Gavin Seim, according to Townhall. “We are here to openly violate the law.”
Although the participants openly transferred their weapons to one another, law enforcement officers made no arrests.
Snaza and Meyer’s letter stated that they had no interest in nabbing people who inadvertently break the law.
“We wanted to make sure that the citizens of Lewis County knew that we weren’t looking to make criminals out of ordinary citizens,” Meyer said, according to KOMO, which reported:
Meyer and Snaza are the first elected officials to come out publicly saying I-594 is too over-reaching. They put this message out because they feel there’s too much confusion about I-594 and they want to make it clear about what they’ll do and what they won’t do.
“‘We’re not going to try to trap citizens into transferring a gun to a friend and then try to nab them on a violation of 594,” Meyer said. “That’s not what we’re interested in.”
People who voted against the initiative say they like what they’re hearing. Plus, they believe the enforcement would be too costly.
“And to go out of their way to find people, it’s going to be costing taxpayers more money,” said Centralia resident Leonard Hoffman.
The authors of I-594 claim that although the Lewis County officials are living up to the law’s intent, they’re overreacting.
“It sounds to me like he is going to be doing what his legal responsibility is,” said Sandy Brown of the Center for Gun Responsibility. “So we don’t really understand why he’s using such flagrantly and flamboyantly incorrect language about the intention of 594.”