Thirteen mostly rural county sheriffs in Washington state are refusing to enforce a sweeping new gun control law, The Seattle Times reported.
The law, which passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote last November, makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy a semi-automatic rifle and imposes a mandatory 10-day waiting period for purchases, in addition to requiring more-thorough background checks for anyone attempting to purchase those particular firearms, the news outlet reported.
“My job as a sheriff is to throw bad guys in jail, but it’s also to protect the constitutional rights of citizens of our county,” Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer said. “I follow the rule of law when I believe it’s constitutional.”
Dissenting sheriffs that told the newspaper they will not enforce the new law have jurisdiction in Adams, Benton, Ferry, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Stevens, and Yakima counties.
“I took an oath to uphold the law,” Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht of King County said in a statement to the Times. “As law enforcement leaders, we defy that oath and betray the public trust if we pick and choose which laws we will uphold.”
King County is home to the city of Seattle — which passed the measure with 76 percent of the vote — and has almost three times the amount of voters as the 13 dissenting counties combined, the news outlet reported.
The higher-age limit regulation is the only portion of the new law that has gone into effect. The other provisions take effect in July.
The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit opposing the measure in federal court, saying it violates the Constitution.
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