REPUBLIC, WA - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson responded to a letter from a Spokane prosecuting attorney, who said Initiative 1639 is void and that Ferguson should tell Washington citizens that the law is invalid.
The first part of Washington's new gun law went into effect January 1. Initiative 1639 is a broad package of new firearms restrictions.
But the only part of the law to officially kick in today is that you have to be 21 years old to buy a semi-automatic rifle.
In July, the rest of the law will start, which includes more extensive background checks for people who want to buy semi-automatic rifles, new storage rules, and a longer waiting period.
The law has been controversial ever since 60 percent of voters passed it in November.
We spoke with Chief of Police Loren Culp in Republic, WA... who has instructed his officers not to enforce I-1639, saying that it violates the Federal Constitution.
"I will not violate someone's constitutional rights because the majority of the people in the state think it's a good idea," Chief Culp stated. "1639 not only impairs, but it eliminates the constitutional rights of 18 to 21-year-olds."
On his Facebook page, Chief Culp posted a letter from Spokane County's prosecuting attorney to the current state attorney general, in which he says:
"Contrary to your normal duty to defend laws of the state of Washington, since this law is void it is your duty to advise Washington citizens it is invalid and does not need to be obeyed. You should also advise all law enforcement agencies in the state that it should not be enforced."
Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently said he's in favor of I-1639 and hopes it sparks more gun changes. His policy director, Kate Kelly, sent out Ferguson's response, which reads as follows:
"Thank you for your recent message to the Attorney General’s Office.
"We appreciate the fact that you took the time to share your thoughts regarding the constitutionality of Initiative 1639.
"Attorney General Ferguson has been clear that he is committed to protecting the legal and constitutional rights of Washingtonians, and upholding the will of the State’s voters. Our office is confident that the law is constitutional, and we intend to defend it in court.
"Thank you again for taking the time to contact us."