Proponents of gun rights were dismayed when Washington State voters came out in support of Initiative 594, a far-reaching gun-control regulation that would expand background checks. Under the law, even private transfers between friends and family would be subject to such checks. Less than two weeks after the law went into effect, the sheriff-elect and prosecutor of Lewis County have released a statement saying they have no interest in enforcing the new provisions.
Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and Undersheriff Robert Snaza said that “the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will not make criminals out of the hardworking citizens of Lewis County.” Later in the message, Meyer insisted that, “where I-594 attempts to criminalize every-day activities, I, in the exercise of my prosecutorial discretion, will not charge individuals with these types of violations.”
Public in Revolt
Normally, I wouldn’t support police and prosecutors choosing to ignore a referendum-voted law just because they don’t like it, but this is an exception. I-594 is a blatant power-play by liberal billionaires that makes a mockery of the Second Amendment. If ever there was cause to ignore the “will of the people,” this is it. Because I’m not entirely convinced that the people knew what it was they were voting for.
Besides, the authors of the initiative claim that Lewis County officials are merely living up to the wording of the law and nothing more. Sandy Brown of the Center for Gun Responsibility said, “we don’t really understand why he’s using such flagrantly and flamboyantly incorrect language about the intention of 594.”
Well, perhaps it’s because the law is a tangled mess of vague prohibitions that no one really understands. Lack of clarity is always a bonus for politicians and activists who want to get one over on the American people; what stronger lesson have we learned from the candid remarks of Jonathan Gruber? Whether it’s the president, Congress, or anti-gun groups, the easiest way to pass bad legislation is to make it so confusing that people no longer know what they’re voting for.
Citizens Embrace Freedom
Washington isn’t the only state seeing public resistance to draconian gun laws. In New York, Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act has seen compliance problems in both law enforcement and the citizenry. In Connecticut, gun owners have refused to comply with the registration requirements slammed through in the wake of the Sandy Hook disaster. And in Colorado, much like Washington, gun owners are ignoring the mandate for background checks on private transfers.
When citizens and those in law enforcement sense that the government is overreaching in its authority, they simply refuse to comply. That’s what it means to be free. And when the enforcement standards are vague and expensive, government officials decline to pursue the matter. Thus, what we have are a bunch of laws on the books that are there for nothing more than show. Pushed through to make politicians look like they’re doing something about gun violence. In the end, they accomplished nothing.
If ever you could sum up liberalism in a nutshell, that’s pretty much it.