Several provisions of Initiative 1639, which was passed by Washington voters last year, went into effect Monday. That calls for reiteration of one of I-1639’s immutable facts: Unless a court rules otherwise or voters overturn their 2018 decision, the gun-control measure is the law of the state.
That fact has drawn scorn from many advocates, who claim the initiative violates the United States and Washington constitutions. The issue has generated much discussion, both before and after the election in which I-1639 passed with 59 percent of the vote (Clark County supported the measure with 54 percent).
For the record, The Columbian editorially opposed I-1639. But we would argue even more forcefully that now it should be enforced. Upholding laws that — for now, at least — are constitutional is one of the bedrocks of our form of representative democracy.
Still, some sheriffs throughout the state have said they will not enforce I-1639, and Yacolt officials last month passed a resolution declaring the town a sanctuary from the law. Considering that Yacolt does not have a police department and contracts with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, that would seem to be an empty gesture.
Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins has said his office will enforce I-1639, and Atkins has been named as part of a lawsuit in federal court designed to overturn the initiative. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson also has been sued as part of a challenge to the law.