As the City of Republic, Wash., the county seat of Ferry County, prepares to consider itself essentially a Second Amendment sanctuary city tonight, an essay in the National Review declares that it is time to stop treating the amendment as a “second-class right.”
Republic Police Chief Loren Culp, appearing on Fox News over the weekend, explained his recent declaration that recently-passed gun control Initiative 1639 will not be enforced in his jurisdiction so long as he remains on the job. The anti-gun measure, adopted by a 60-40 vote margin, prohibits young adults from legally purchasing and owning a so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle.” It also requires so-called “enhanced background checks,” mandatory training, registration, so-called “secure storage,” and creates a new crime called “community endangerment.”
The initiative campaign was largely funded by less than a dozen wealthy elitists living in the Seattle area, trying—according to critics—to push their personal lifestyle and morals down the throats of all Evergreen State residents.
I-1639 was definitely the hot topic at the Washington Arms Collectors’ weekend gun show at the Puyallup fairgrounds. Thousands of people jammed the gun show Saturday and again Sunday. They stopped at the Second Amendment Foundation’s table looking for information on what’s next. A federal lawsuit challenging parts of the measure was filed last week by SAF and the National Rifle Association.
But now comes the National Review with a hard look at perhaps the most important tenet of the Bill of Rights, because without it, the citizenry would have no means of resisting the erasure of all the protections of individual rights from a tyrannical government.
Authored by John Yoo and James C. Phillips, the essay notes that, “Unless the new conservative majority on the Court, solidified by Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s arrival, places the right to bear arms on a par with the rest of the Bill of Rights, the coming blue wave of gun-control proposals may swamp what the Framers considered a core constitutional right.”
They make it clear that Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are planning a flood of gun control proposals. They also leave no doubt that the Supreme Court has been not just reluctant but essentially gutless when it comes to the Second Amendment since nullifying the Chicago handgun ban in 2010 in a case brought by SAF called McDonald v. City of Chicago.
Yoo and Phillips argue, “Justice Clarence Thomas has lamented the Court’s unwillingness to stand up for its Second Amendment precedents in the face of resistance from some lower courts and state governments alike.” Thomas contends that “the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.”
“With Justice Kavanaugh now providing conservatives with a more secure majority, the Court can end its sidestepping of the Second Amendment. To ensure the equal treatment of rights, the Court should apply the same tests it uses to protect free-speech rights to also protect the right to bear arms. For instance, as proposed by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and endorsed in passing by the D.C. Circuit last year, the Court could invalidate restrictions that fail to leave open ample alternative channels to exercise rights. Such a test would allow for more-extensive background checks, but not bans on weapons for self-defense or high bars on the right to carry guns in public. And such a test would need to be consistent with the original understanding of the right at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted.”—John Yoo & James C. Phillips, National Review
No better examples of how the Second Amendment is treated like a second-class right, if not a strictly-regulated government privilege, may be found in places like New Jersey, New York, Maryland, California and—unless the lawsuit is successful and more legal actions follow to nullify the entire body of I-1639—soon Washington.
But now comes Chief Culp in Republic, a community about as far removed from Seattle in terms of lifestyle, philosophy and genuine common sense. Its very name sets it far apart from the socialist environment now encompassing Seattle. Taking a page out of the liberal playbook and a lesson from the late Nancy Reagan, he has decided to “just say No.” He will not enforce a law.
In his remarks to Fox News, Chief Culp noted that the Washington State constitutional provision protecting the right to bear arms is even stronger than the language of the Second Amendment. Article 1 Section 24 of the state constitution, adopted Nov. 11, 1889, says this: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired.” Rights activists attending the weekend gun show insist that there is really no wiggle room in those 20 words, and Chief Culp said I-1639 is definitely an impairment.
“Far too often for far too long, the Second Amendment has been a second-class right, banished to the back of our constitutional bus. Perhaps the day will come when the people will determine that the best way to curb gun violence is to cull the Second Amendment from the Constitution. Until then, the Court’s constitutional duty is to keep enforcing the right to bear arms just as it would any other constitutional right. Constitutional rights are legal equals. They should be treated as such.”—John Yoo & James C. Phillips
The initiative passed in a minority of the state’s 39 counties. Ferry County was not among them.