The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Sheriff's stand cited in international news story


Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer is quoted in a Reuters news story that ran in the March 4 issue of U.S. News & World Report.

The international news agency is based in London and is subscribed to by most major news outlets throughout the world.

The story, written by Daniel Trotta and entitled "Defiant U.S. Sheriffs Push Gun Sanctuaries, Imitating Liberals on Immigration," reports that a growing number of counties in at least four states have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. The counties are refusing to enforce gun-control laws they consider violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

The idea of Second Amendment sanctuaries lifts a page from the liberal playbook, when cities across the U.S. created immigration sanctuaries to defy the Trump administration's implementation of stronger immigration laws. Washington state is one of the four states cited in the Reuters article; a number of counties-including Klickitat-have either been asked to consider or already are considering declaring themselves gun rights sanctuaries.

The other three states are Oregon, New Mexico, and Illinois-all states with Democratic governors and Democrat-controlled legislatures and all now finding themselves struggling with Democratic attempts to enact gun control measures.

"The sanctuary movement is exposing the rift between rural and urban America as much as the one between the Republican and Democratic parties, as small, conservative counties push back against statewide edicts passed by big-city politicians," Trotta wrote in his story. He quotes a number of law enforcement officials who say they won't allow metropolitan centers to dictate policy to rural regions.

The gun control activists in the four states are attempting to coalesce a movement and are talking with supporters in California, Idaho, Iowa, and New York, the Reuters story states. The rising movement brings the prospect of increasing conflict between state and local officials.

The Reuters story reports on events in Washington, citing among other factors Attorney General Bob Ferguson's warning letter to all county sheriffs advising them of potential liability if their refusal to enforce Initiative 1639 results in a person of dangerous intent later acquiring a firearm. Songer is quoted in the story as calling Ferguson's letter a bluff and saying, "Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they're not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office."

Trotta writes that support for Second Amendment sanctuaries is gaining significant strength, with 63 counties or municipalities in Illinois having passed some form of a firearms sanctuary resolution. In New Mexico 25 of the state's 33 counties have already passed resolutions supporting sheriffs who say they won't enforce gun laws they consider unconstitutional. In Oregon, voters in eight counties approved laws last November that allow sheriffs to determine which state gun laws to enforce, and organizers there say they plan even stronger measures for county ballots next year.

In almost all these cases, the Reuters story points out, legal challenges could be coming, pending the start of the laws (I-1639 doesn't kick in until July) or imminent state legislation passing. Critics of the sanctuary movement say the activists are painting inaccurate images of the state coming for people's gun.


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