Washington Sheriff Refuses to Enforce New Gun Laws

Police Chief Loren Culp of Republic, Washington has proposed making is town a "sanctuary city."

Police Chief Loren Culp of Republic, Washington told residents of the town, who voted overwhelmingly against the strict new gun laws recently passed in Washington State, that he has no plans to implement the rules, and has suggested that the town will become a "Second Amendment Sanctuary City."

"I've taken 3 public oaths, one in the U.S. Army and two as a police officer. All of them included upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States of America," Culp wrote in a Facebook Post. "As long as I am Chief of Police, no Republic Police Officer will infringe on a citizens right to keep and Bear Arms, PERIOD!"

The new law referenced by Culp is Initiative 1639, which recently passed with less than 60 percent voting in favor, though those votes largely emanated in the large urban centers in the western portion of the state—not the hamlets and burgs of the eastern portion of the state, like Republic.

"It’s totally against my oath of office which is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Washington state and I will not enforce it.”

- —Chief Loren Culp, Republic, Washington

Initiative 1639 raises the legal age to purchase semiautomatic rifles from the federal limit of 18 to 21; requires an enhanced background check, training requirements, and imposes a waiting period of 10 business days; as well as adding a "Safe Storage" provision, which creates gross misdemeanor and felony classes of a new crime, "community endangerment." You can read more about the particulars here.

"I couldn't see the Washington state voters—if they would have read this initiative, which I doubt most of them did, I couldn't see most of the voters in Washington state voting this in," Culp told My Northwest. "It is an initiative that totally tramples on the rights of citizens. Mostly in the 18 to 21 year old range, but it also requires people to submit to invasion of their privacy through their medical records. It's totally against my oath of office which is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Washington state and I will not enforce it."

Chief Loren Culp of Republic, Washington.
Chief Loren Culp of Republic, Washington.Facebook

In response, Culp has floated the idea of making Republic a "2nd Amendment Sanctuary City" He notes in the Facebook Post that members of law enforcement do not create legislation, but he suggests that he town should enact, "An ORDINANCE of the City of Republic, which shall be known and may be cited as the "2nd Amendment Sanctuary City Ordinance." To prevent federal and state infringement on the right to keep and bear arms; nullifying all federal and state acts in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1 Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution."

"I couldn't enforce this anymore than I could enforce a law being passed that says citizens don't have the right to peacefully assemble or speak their mind or attend a church of their choice," Culp's told My Northwest. In the Sherriff's mind, defending the constitution is just doing part of his job. "It's a constitutional right just like those are, and I can't imagine any law enforcement officer going against oath of office to enforce any of the other constitutional amendments and I can't see anyone in their right minds that would enforce this either."