Washington State Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Gun Control, Receive Threats

(Photo: Thurston County Sheriffs via Facebook)

More than half of Washington state sheriffs are openly refusing to enforce the state’s new, heavy-handed gun control measures unless they are ruled on by the courts. And they’re getting threats for it.

“I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights,” said Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones. “I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”

“As Sheriff there is nothing, at this time, for me to enforce as it pertains to 1639,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. “As it is now, 1639 is not constitutional, is being challenged in court and there is nothing for me to enforce.”

To-date at least 21 of the state’s 39 county sheriffs have said they will not carry out some the new laws which include raising the age limit to purchase firearms from 18 to 21, mandatory gun safety courses, enhanced background checks, safe storage requirements and a semi-automatic weapons ban.

The Washington State Sheriffs Association posted a statement in opposition to I-1639. “The Sheriffs Association publicly opposed Initiative 1639 prior to the election,” it reads. “As the elected Sheriffs of our respective counties, we expressed our concern that the initiative placed greater restrictions on law-abiding citizens while creating unreasonable expectations regarding how such restrictions would be enforced.”

“First and foremost, we are sworn to uphold the Rule of Law and the Constitution, it continues. “As elected Sheriffs, we are sworn to uphold all rights protected by the Constitution.”

“The political grandstanding is disheartening,” said Renee Hopkins, representing the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, who promoted the gun control package. “If they do not run (background checks), we will have a huge problem.”

See Also: NRA and Second Amendment Foundation File Suit in Washington

Now state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has given these sheriffs a warning. “Local law enforcement are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our duty to enforce Washington laws and protect the public,” said Ferguson.

“I will defend Initiative 1639 against any challenge,” he added. “My office defeated the legal challenge to the previous gun safety initiative passed by the people, and I am confident we will defeat any constitutional challenge to Initiative 1639 as well.”

The sheriffs have even received death threats from gun control activists. Facebook’s Crime Check flagged a comment by a person, who has not been revealed, for saying “Sheriff Knezovich is going to get a bullet in his skull.”

Other posts from the same account continued. “Sheriffs that are non-compliant will be shot. By me.”

Sheriffs in Seattle’s King County and Vancouver’s Clark County have said they plan on enforcing the initiative.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 53 comments… add one }
  • Jay February 28, 2020, 6:58 am

    Thumbs up to those sheriffs who so clearly understand their duty! But, concerning these alleged death threats, they do not ring true.

    I grant wacko liberals are no strangers to violence or the application of it. Sticks & stones do break bones and well do they know it!
    But, openly threatening to shoot somebody for not enforcing gun control??? Sounds too phony for me. It sounds rather more of counter propaganda to me and such does us no good in the long run.

  • Heath March 21, 2019, 10:03 pm

    So the gun control nuts are gonna shoot the sheriff for not enforcing gun laws……….Chew on that for a while………..These folks parents shoulda had better birth control……………

    • Bill Luvender August 10, 2019, 12:08 am

      damn right Bud!!!!

  • Ronnie March 10, 2019, 11:05 am

    I love it. Just shows how stupid the leftist really are and I’ve noticed an upswing in interest in gun sales and transfers.look like these leftist morons would have learned from the 8 years Obama was in office what happen to gun prices and gun interest in those Herbert Hoover,I mean Obama term as our country Commanding Officer. All he done was comanded our debt up a trillion dollars a year and pass some of the worse legislation this country has ever seen. It will take Trump years to clean up the mess he made if possible. If the Media would print the truth I think you would see a downward move of the stock market and a upswing in inflation.

  • Edward A Allen February 24, 2019, 9:33 am

    Hmmmm. The hypocrisy is amazing. Tell a sheriff that if he doesn’t support a gun ban, because you think guns are evil, that you would shoot him with an evil gun.

    I guess that means that the gun is what is doing it and not the anti-gun individual. I’m supposing that if he had never touched a firearm that he would never have had such hate filled thoughts enter the cavity in his skull where a brain normally resides.

    I guess this is one way that the antis can prove it is guns that cause crime

    • Bill Luvender August 10, 2019, 12:10 am

      the dumbocrats seem to be suffering from an extreme case of intraanularoculitis

  • baumerk February 22, 2019, 10:04 am

    The person who made online threats to Washington State Sherriff’s.


  • Dan Gore February 18, 2019, 11:02 pm

    These “enlightened “scumbags should be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison with a REAL CRIMINAL! So they can meet the real problem. Although they probably wouldn’t figure it out if it hit them in head! Sherriff is upholding his oath to the people who elected him, so Democrats of the state of Washington. If you don’t like it. You can move about 500 miles due west of the coast!

  • Sean Carberry February 18, 2019, 8:42 am

    Sorry for this but if you voted for these new laws i hope you find out first hand that criminals do not obey the law. So while you’re being victimised by people that don’t follow the law and you’re breathing what could possibly be your last breath…think about your narrow sightedness in approving these silly laws.

  • Charles Jennings February 17, 2019, 10:55 am

    Either enforce these unconstitutional gun laws on the good citizens of the United States of America,

    Or we will shoot you to death,,,,,,,,,,,,hmmm ??

    There is something wrong with these leftist extremists !

    The Sheriffs nation wide are between a rock,and a hard spot,,,ether uphold your oath,and get

    shot, or ignore your oath,and get shot.

    This is what the prelude to civil war looks like.

    • Bill Luvender August 10, 2019, 12:20 am

      unfortunately true!

  • Kenny from The Fed February 15, 2019, 10:56 pm

    Anyone who makes an open threat to do bodily harm, or threaten to kill a Peace Officer, or anyone else for that matter, can be legally arrested and charged with terroristic threats. These are the same people calling for gun bands, and when they don’t get their way, “I’ll kill you and your whole family!!”. Wow!!! These people preach one thing and do the exact opposite. This is the mentality we are dealing with. I had a coworker of mine tell me, while we were at Food Service, handing out Christmas Gifts to the Inmates, “Yes, inmates get Christmas gifts”, ” No one should be able to own a full auto semi automatic rifle “. Huh???!!! I inquired by what he meant by that. He said you pull the trigger and bullets just fly out. I explained the difference between full auto, and semi-auto and told him the later was used at Sandy Hook that had recently occurred. He said, “Oh. Well no one should be able to own a semi-auto rifle either”. I asked him, what gives him the right to dictate what I own, “By the way, I have a N.J. legal rifle just like that, I bought at a gun show, with a back round check”. You should have seen the look on his face. It’s like I said, “Hail Satan!!!”, or something. Next time someone brings up you being a war monger, ask them if automobiles and alcohol should be band. They both kill more people 20 times over what fire arms do. All three, if used responsibly are very safe with no blood being shed. This was a fellow Law Enforcement Officer. Some people just don’t, and won’t get it. I’m out.

    • Bill Luvender August 10, 2019, 12:24 am

      I’m with you Brother, seems like it’s ALWAYS the people that have the LEAST knowledge about firearms that are the most rabid and vocal about banning them. ( retired ECSO (NY)

  • Zupglick February 15, 2019, 9:47 pm

    AG Bob needs to come over to the east side of the Cascades. I know a nest of rattlesnakes that would love to become his constituents.

  • Aardvark February 15, 2019, 4:34 pm

    “Sheriff Knezovich is going to get a bullet in his skull.” and “Sheriffs that are non-compliant will be shot. By me.”

    These are felonious death threats against law enforcement, but do you think this person will even be arrested in Washington state? Doubtful unless he lives on the east side of the Cascades. Ironic that the left wants to disarm law abiding citizens, and then threatens them with violence if they disagree with them.

    • deanbob February 16, 2019, 5:49 pm

      A tad factious but I would not be surprised if the person making the threats was not ultimately declare innocent by the ninth circuit!

  • Mike Ainsworth February 15, 2019, 2:30 pm

    will this mean I get to file suit against the AG If A Seattle stoner high on POT rear end me because he will not enforce fed. law

    • deanbob February 16, 2019, 5:51 pm

      What law might you be referring to?

    • Kane February 19, 2019, 10:22 am

      The Sherriff did not refuse to enforce any and all federal laws and in fact the laws in question were state laws that involve Constitutional issues.

      Recently in Chicago, Thomas Dart was refusing to enforce some evictions that he believed were in some aspect unlawful.

      Local police are refusing to enforce federal laws involving illegally immigrants.

  • Glen February 15, 2019, 1:26 pm

    In accordance with Washington law, these individuals who threatened these law enforcement officers should have restraining orders placed against them precluding them from passing back ground checks in the future and should be subjected to the weapons seizures under the red flag act that they are so in favor of

  • Dale Kehrer February 15, 2019, 1:24 pm

    I guess Pete never heard of the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. Try this one on for size Pete, go to the major cities of any state and and see which political groups are committing the majority of the firearm related crimes. Lefty DEMOCRATS, by a huge percentage. And, for sure, it wasn’t a Republican that threatened a sheriff.

    • deanbob February 16, 2019, 5:53 pm

      Isn’t odd how few gun control advocated seem to be able to comprehend the last 4 words of the second amendment of the US constitution?

  • skipNclair February 15, 2019, 12:49 pm

    Pass all the laws you want, let all of the courts decide they are constitutional, but that does not mean you have to obey them, if they are unconstitutional. Any law that goes against the constitution, regarless of who wrote it, who voted in favor of it, or who upheld it, still makes the law unconstitutional. A true beleiver in the constitution , and his God given rights understands, that it is not only his right, but his duty to ignore such laws. If these sheriff’s believe in the oath they took, are real men, real patriots, and true believer’s in God, they will not enforce any law that is unconstitutional, even if the supreme court and lower courts say the law is legal. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. What part of this do the traitors not understand, if they pass law, uphold laws or enforce laws that are written against it?

  • pete February 15, 2019, 12:23 pm

    That’s just great: elected public officials deciding which laws they like which laws they don’t like. Next stop: anarchy. We either obey and respect all laws or we don’t, and should suffer the legal consequences. Don’t like a law? Work to change it through the legal/legislative system.

    • Winston February 15, 2019, 1:12 pm

      The governments in nearly all states are violating immigration laws and have been for decades by not jailing ALL illegal aliens with expired visas or those with no visa at all. The Congress has legislators who openly defy US code immigration and laws concerning use of violent force against other countries and their populations. So, you think working through the ‘courts’ ( that they defacto control through vetted appointments ) is going to reverse anything or cause them to enforce laws when these institutions are already guilty of dereliction of duty?

      • Bill Luvender August 10, 2019, 12:29 am

        well put sir, right on the money!

    • baumerk February 15, 2019, 2:15 pm

      This initiative had so many flaws and irregularities it never should have been allowed in the ballot. But thanks to lying signature gatheres, an unelected antigun supreme court commissioner then the liberal supreme court itself, and then to a RINO secretary of state it was placed on the ballot, illegally.
      Only about 52 percent of registered voters in the state voted in this election. A majority of them voted in favor. In Washington there are about 3 counties with a majority of the state population, all around Seattle. Known as west side liberals. As they vote, so goes the state.
      The gun storage part has already been determined unconstutional by SCOTUS. It also requires the breaking of HIPPA laws to determine if you have any mental unstability by saying if you wish to purchase a semiauotmatic rifle, you wave your rights to privicy of your medical records for an “enhanced” background check. The attourny general (sideshow Bob) is going to run for governor. He is a hardcore liberal.
      Unfortunately he has asked for, and his liberal minions have produced, bills that are in the legislature (most have passed out of committee, or are about to) that will make I1639 look like a walk in the park…

    • Eric February 15, 2019, 2:56 pm

      Well Pete, while I agree with part of what you said I also strongly disagree with most of it. We need to first recognize that NO state has the right to remove or infringe on the constitutional right of law abiding citizens regardless of what state the live in. SCOTUS was very clear in the last ruling they made regarding the 2nd amendment, these rights shall not be infringed. Those people that feel unsafe around guns and people that carry them need to understand that many of us feel the opposite. Those that feel the lack of accessibility of firearms to the general community will not make you any safer however I feel safer when I carry to protect myself or my family. For those who oppose firearms I suggest you start wearing shirt that say something like I’m anti gun so in the even of an emergency please DON’T save me. That way I know who to protect and who not to because they tried to take away my rights to do so. As a citizen of this country and an elected official myself I did swear an oath to uphold and protect the constitutions of both my state and my country. When you find yourself in a situation that they conflict with each other I feel I MUST follow my own judgement and I choose the constitution of the United States of America to uphold every time. Your freedom of choice, speech and religion are next and without the 2nd amendment to protect our rights and ability to stand up forcefully if and when necessary to protect those rights are removed than there is nothing to stop the powers in charge from taking them all. That is the entire reason our forefathers created these rights, for our own protection from ourselves and a corrupt government. Unlike the citizens of lesser countries removing these rights will from our citizens will be much more difficult as long as we have patriots.

    • Aardvark February 15, 2019, 5:01 pm

      The left has already introduced anarchy in the US Pete! BLM, Antifa, threatening and attacking conservatives, stalking and harassing Republican politicians, shutting down freeways, rioting, burning businesses, preventing conservative speakers with threats of violence at public and private colleges, as well as Hollywood elites, Fake News pundits, and leftist politicians publically depicting murdering our duly elected President, threatening to overthrow him, and the constant fake “investigations” of non-crimes, based on Democrat funded lies, and perpetrated by an extremely corrupt FBI and DOJ. THAT is ANARCHY

    • Robert Messmer February 16, 2019, 8:17 pm

      Quote: “Local law enforcement are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our duty to enforce Washington laws and protect the public,” said Ferguson.” So Mr. Ferguson when are you going to enforce the law and stop Washington State from violating Federal Law? If you can be a “sanctuary state”, which violates federal law, just why can’t the sheriff’s declare their respective cities to be “sanctuary cities from the state law” since they are actually complying with the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution?

    • mikeb February 22, 2019, 8:17 am

      Obozo and his puppy Holder did that for 8 years.

    • Rich Holmes February 29, 2020, 10:37 pm

      Pete, I don’t usually don’t resort to name calling but in you case I’ll have to . The constitution is the law of the land …Period, live bye that code and all will be well with the world , your a fucken idiot to think ortherwise, guns made this country , if your too ignorant to understand this, jus go away and shut the fuck up , guns also are what are keeping America the strong nation we are, sorry to burst your fragile, snowflake bubble, but understand how we got where we are , the gun

  • Kivaari February 15, 2019, 11:55 am

    Regardless of what the sheriffs will do or not due, gun dealers will be faced with complying with the law. There is no means to meet the requirements of “training” classes. There are no training classes to be had. The way the bill is written every semi-automatic rifle is an assault rifle. A tube fed .22 LR rifle is now an assault rifle.
    The law is very poorly written and imposes unreasonable restrictions. The next legislature will pass even more restrictive laws. It is fact that Washington is doomed to be another California.

    • baumerk February 15, 2019, 1:50 pm

      Washington and Oregon and currently in a race to the bottom to be worse than california.

      • No1hunter February 22, 2019, 11:17 am

        “Washington and Oregon and currently in a race to the bottom to be worse than california.”

        That is because the dinks from Kalliphoney are leave that cesspool to get away from the crap and moving north. The problem is, they are intelligent to understand the crap rules and regulations they now insist upon in WA and OR that the same rules and regulations that mad Kalliphoney the cesspool it is!

        We see it with cities east of the cascade divide. They move over here to get away from it but want to change it just like where they came from. And to think these are the people who came to be the smarter group. Well, they may be highly educated with worthless degrees but they are still dumber than a box of rocks.

        Time to get behind our new state, the STATE OF LIBERTY!

        • No1hunter February 22, 2019, 2:50 pm

          This sentence should actually read, “The problem is, they are NOT intelligent ENOUGH to understand the crap rules and regulations they now insist upon in WA and OR that the same rules and regulations that madE Kalliphoney the cesspool it is!

  • AJ February 15, 2019, 10:41 am

    So the way to advocate for gun control is to threaten to SHOOT Sheriffs? At least these people remember how to Democrat.

    I do like how the asshole proponents are trying to sway public opinion by bringing up incomplete background checks. I also like how the AG openly opposes the Constitution. Wait, didn’t he swear an oath to uphold it? Sounds like some treason going on here.

    • Eric February 15, 2019, 3:09 pm

      I love it, keep it coming as I think you are right on point. 🙂 Anti-gunners should wear something saying they are anti-gun so in the event of a mass casualty even (God forbid there be another one) I know who NOT to worry about protecting. Lol. Respect my rights and I will do the same for you is my way of looking at. Talk all the trash you want while hiding under your 1st amendment rights and I will protect you with my 2nd amendments rights as you complain about them. Seems a little wonky but it is the world we live in now.

      • AJ February 17, 2019, 3:05 pm

        I think it’s hilarious how many of these leftists want to paint the law abiding gun owners as monsters.

        Because I remember hearing something along the lines of, “monsters are shunned and ridiculed, until they are needed.” I believe it was a PTSD advert or some such. But there is undeniable truth to it.

        What I don’t understand is how these threats are made, and then the people who make them are viewed as the “enlightened” and “progressive” left. A symbol of a tolerant and peaceful society.

        These people call us fascists yet they want the government to control everything. They want intervention in the pettiest of issues.

        It’s interesting how history repeats itself though. In ancient Greece, Democratic courts would put inanimate object on trial if they were used to commit a crime. Literally. Democrats have followed this solution for literally hundreds of years. And yet they are progressive? They still don’t comprehend the laws of physics.

  • John C Mullendore February 15, 2019, 10:35 am

    Funny how the lefty’s are always fighting for gun control, but make a statement that they will kill law enforcement. I have never applied for a concealed carry permit, but I would gladly get one. I can also say the first time a sheriff is fired upon, I would offer to ride along on any day to put two people in a car for protection of the officer, if they would have me. No that is not happening in America, I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way. Lefty’s be careful what you say. You would also get the death penalty for killing law enforcement. Thank you sheriffs for standing for all of our rights.

    • baumerk February 15, 2019, 1:52 pm

      No more death penality in Washington State.

      • Zupglick February 15, 2019, 9:33 pm

        I think if you murder a police officer the charges become Federal.

        • baumerk February 16, 2019, 9:56 pm

          Generally that is not the case.

  • mikeb February 15, 2019, 10:12 am

    Wonder how the Washington state AG felt about Obama and Holder selectively choosing which laws to enforce?

  • al February 15, 2019, 10:00 am

    Just how stupid can a person be to threaten a Sheriff? Does this idiot not realize that the FBI will be in on this?
    And any threat against the Sheriff is a threat against the people, as he is an ELECTED official.
    Lefties are so wacko, it’s simply astounding.

  • Norm Fishler February 15, 2019, 9:48 am

    We have the makings for the same sort of circus here in New Mexico. There is already a petition afloat to impeach her. Late last week there were 19,000 signatures. This is the same woman who wants open borders, infanticide and assisted suicide. On and on it goes. These people will not be satisfied until they control every aspect of our lives from cradle to grave.

  • Dr Motown February 15, 2019, 6:38 am

    Should be 39/39 refusing to enforce unconstitutional laws

  • David W Bumpus February 15, 2019, 6:22 am

    Look at this these idiots that are trying to force stricter gun laws are threatening the lives of police officers saying they’ll shoot them with a BULLET to there head.. These are the same people WHO shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms in the first place.

  • Sneed Hurn February 15, 2019, 5:02 am

    How Ironic it is that people who want the Sheriffs of the state to enforce the gun laws yet threaten them with gun violence.

  • Michael E. Hensley February 15, 2019, 4:15 am

    Bravo ladies and Gentlemen
    ” Defend the Constitution From Enemies Both Foreign And Domestic ”
    This should be the Attitude of all Law Enforcement as well as all current and Former Military

    • None Given February 15, 2019, 11:58 am

      This should be the attitude of ALL citizens whether they have a military or LE background.

  • SuperG February 14, 2019, 10:45 am

    The Sheriff’s are usually elected by the people, instead of being appointed by Mayors, like police chiefs. I salute these real Americans, standing by their oaths to protect the people and the Constitution. I guess Bob Ferguson didn’t take the same oath, or was incompetent to understand its meaning if he did.

    • Bill S February 15, 2019, 3:18 am

      Well put Sir.

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