Sheriffs can’t pick and choose which laws to follow

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Initiative 1639, a broad set of firearms restrictions, was approved by the voters last year. Effective Jan. 1 of this year, the age for firearms purchases was raised to 21. Rest of the law takes effect July 1. It makes no sense, then, for some sheriffs to say there is nothing for them to enforce and then tell their deputies not to enforce the law. Sheriffs do not determine constitutionality of any law; the courts do.

That being said, it comes as no real surprise that some sheriffs say they will not enforce this law. The era of “pick and choose” by elected officials has been upon us for some time.

Witness the members of the Moses Lake School Board, who chose to ignore the voters’ decision to approve the building of a new high school because some members objected to it.

Witness the president who ignores the Global Magnitsky Act (which allows the US government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world), withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (an arms control treaty with Russia), violates the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, violated the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Russia Sanctions) and ignores U.S. law and international law (to which the U.S. is a signatory) regarding asylum seekers, to name a few of his “pick and choose.”

Our democratic government was founded on the authority of the people themselves. No elected official can act on their behalf if he is not held accountable to its laws. If our elected officials want respect, they first need to obey the law.

Duane Pitts

Moses Lake

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