By Lou Marzeles
Editor 

County commissioners resolve that I-1639 is unconstitutional

 

April 17, 2019

The Board of Commissioners of Klickitat County last week stated it considered Initiative 1639 (I-1639) to be unconstitutional and that it supports Sheriff Bob Songer's discretionary right to interpret his duties.

The stand by the board comes in the wake of unprecedented national and international scrutiny on Klickitat County and other governmental bodies and personnel around the country as they took stands to oppose attempted restrictions on guns. Songer himself became a de facto spokesperson for the movement in general, emerging as the most frequently and broadly quoted official opposing restrictive gun laws. Interviews with Songer have appeared in national media, including The New York Times, and internationally by Reuters.

The board's views took the form of an official resolution issued last Tuesday in its regular board meeting. It included the three commissioners stating that none of them as private citizens voted for I-1639. The resolution stops short of formally declaring Klickitat County a "sanctuary" county against gun infringement in the way several counties in other states have done.


Following is the full text of the commissioners' resolution:

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners, meeting in regular session, having before it the need to take a position regarding Initiative 1639; and

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners would like to thank the citizens of Klickitat County who gave public testimony for and against Initiative 1-1639 in the form of emails, letters and phone calls and during regular sessions and at two public meetings in Goldendale and White Salmon; and

Whereas, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms is guaranteed as an Individual Right under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and under Article I, Section 24 of the Constitution of the State of Washington; and

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners have all stated as private citizens they voted against I-1639 because it was not well thought out, infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens, and will have no effect on criminal or mentally ill individuals who are intent on harming others; and


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Whereas, it is the Board of County Commissioner's opinion that 1-1639 is unconstitutional; and

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners, being elected to represent the residents of the County and being duly sworn by their Oath of Office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington; and

Whereas, 1-1639 was properly enacted and passed by the citizens of Washington State with a 60 percent to 40 percent margin, failing 40 percent to 60 percent in Klickitat County; and

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners do not have the authority to determine the constitutionality of 1-1639 and believe in the process as set forth in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington; and

Whereas, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has the power to determine the validity and constitutionality of statues, the Board of County Commissioners choose to rely on the process; and

Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners support the Klickitat County Sheriff's right to use his discretion to discharge the duties of the Sheriffs Office according to his interpretation of his sworn oath of office.

Now, therefore be it resolved, the Board of County Commissioners acknowledge the legally authorized power of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington and the Supreme Court of the United State to determine the validity and constitutionality of Initiative 1639.

Dated this 9th day of April 2019.

 

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