SHAMING THE SHERIFFS
In the elections of late 2018, the citizens of Washington state voted on Initiative 1639, a suite of gun regulations designed to make communities safer. The initiative passed by a margin of 18.7 percent, 59.35 percent in favor and 40.65 percent against. The restriction of the sale of semi-automatic weapons to people under 21 years of age took effect on Jan. 1. The remaining provisions (including background checks, increased waiting periods and storage requirements) are set to take effect on July 1.
Since then, a number of sheriffs in Washington have declared their opposition to the new law and their intention not to enforce it.
Now, I am perfectly happy to have a rational conversation with those who oppose any new law. I accept that they may even fund a legal campaign to defeat it in court. However, I find it absolutely appalling that many sheriffs in this state are opting to subvert the will of the people. That the highest law enforcement officials in nearly a dozen counties would unilaterally decide not to enforce the law is shameful.
This is an insult to the democratic process, as well as a blatant failure to enact the mandate of the institution of law enforcement. And it sets a dangerous precedent for future legislation. Are we to expect future measures to be subject of final judicial review by our sheriffs?
By all means, when these sheriffs go home from work and don their civilian clothes, they should be free to campaign viciously against any law they please. But in their capacity as law enforcement officers, they must uphold the law, regardless of their personal preferences. Otherwise, what are we paying them for?
Deer Park, Wash.
Readers respond to a potential plan in the Washington Legislature to put repeat property offenders on community supervision ("Spokane Wants Supervision," 2/14/19):
Tara L Smith: Why isn't this already a thing? We have so many people here who commit crimes, get a slap on the wrist, commit the same crime, get out on bail, commit the crime, rinse, repeat. Nothing really happens to them until they kill someone. I'm so tired of turning on the news and hearing about how someone with 15 felonies finally got thrown in jail for good after they killed someone. I'm all about rehabilitation, but some people can't be rehabilitated and we need to get better at removing them from society.
David Anderson Turner V: Great bill, and one that, arguably, should be in place already. Car prowling, property crime is, and has been, an epidemic in Spokane. Tying the bill to addicts/drug users is a great idea, and perhaps might break that cycle? But, I say, don't lessen the sentence, rewrite the bill.
Jeff Logan: Maybe don't let prolific repeat offenders out of jail? There's an idea to try! Or, just like a driver's license, petty crimes get you points. When you get enough points, you get a ticket to the big house!♦