Advocates of Second Amendment rights have reacted to a referendum that voters in Washington State passed on November 6. Referendum I-1639 will enact new restrictions on firearms and their owners that will go into effect in two stages, on January 1 and July 1 of next year. Proponents of the anti-gun referendum received millions of dollars in funding from activist billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg, Paul Allen, Steve and Connie Ballmer, and Nick and Leslie Hanauer.

Even though the proposal was passed with almost 60 percent of the vote, Republic city Police Chief Loren Culp responded by proposing a local ordinance declaring Republic City a sanctuary city for lawful gun owners who do not wish to obey the new law. He has told supporters that he does not intend to “infringe on someone’s constitutional rights.”

On November 7, Police Chief Culp wrote on the department’s Facebook page:

“I can’t make legislation but I can recommend it, which I have. What do you think?

Ordinance Number: __________
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.

“WHEREAS, the City of Republic believes that:
A. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, “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.”

B. Article 1 section 24 of the Washington State Constitution reads as follows, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

C. All federal and State acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition are a violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1 Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.



A. The Republic City Council declares that all federal and state acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations past, present or future, in violation of the U.S. and/or State Constitutions are not authorized by the said Constitutions and violate the true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers and are hereby declared to be invalid in the City of Republic, shall not be recognized by the City of Republic, are specifically rejected by the City of Republic and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in the City of Republic.

B. No agent, employee, or official of the City of Republic, or any corporation providing services to the City of Republic shall provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of federal or state acts, orders, rules, laws or regulations in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1 Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.

C. Nothing in this Ordinance shall affect City Ordinance 94-05 which prohibits, for safety reasons, the discharge of firearms in the City limits except in the defense of self or others.

The City of Republic calls upon other local jurisdictions within the State of Washington to join us in this action by passing a similar ordinance.


The City of Republic requests that copies of this ordinance be immediately transmitted to each individual legislator that represents our district in the State government urging each to introduce similar legislation on a state level during the next legislative session.

SECTION 4: SEVERABILITY CLAUSE. If any provisions of this ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance are held invalid, the remainder of the Ordinance, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

SECTION 5: EFFECTIVE DATE. This Ordinance shall become effective from and after the date of its passage by the City Council, approval by the Mayor and five (5) days after publication as required by law.


As passed, I-1639 require 1) extensive, enhanced background checks for the purchase of semiautomatic rifles; 2) only those persons 21 or older would be allowed to purchase semi-automatic rifles; 3) a ten-day wait on completion of a semiautomatic rifle sale; 4) purchasers would be required to pass a gun safety course; 5) gun owners would have to submit to annual background checks; 6) gun owners to register all semi-automatic rifles. Gun owners would also be required to secure their firearms with gun locks or safes, while there would be new penalties for gun owners whose guns end up in the hands of children or criminals. Also, those wishing to purchase firearms would have to waive medical privacy.

According to Section 7 of the new law, “A signed application to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the health care authority, mental health institutions, and other healthcare facilities release, to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency, information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility to purchase a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.”

Among the firearms included in the bill are popular .22-caliber rimfires such as the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, Browning SA-22 and Winchester Model 74.  According to the law:  “Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge. ‘Semiautomatic assault rifle’ does not include antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.”—Section 16, Paragraph 25, Initiative 1639

Police Chief Culp’s proposed ordinance has not yet been presented to the city council in Republic. 

The National Rifle Association is joining with other advocates of gun rights to sue the State of Washington over the ballot initiative. The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation sued in U.S. District Court in Seattle last week, arguing that the referendum violates the Second Amendment. They also contend that the measure interferes with the regulation of interstate commerce, which is under the authority of the federal government.

In a written statement, Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb declared, “We are disappointed that too many voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme, despite overwhelming law enforcement opposition.” The statement went on to say, “This measure will have a chilling effect on the exercise of the constitutional rights of honest citizens while having no impact on criminals, and we will not let it go unchallenged.” The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit does not challenge those sections of the new law concerning background checks or training, but is asking a federal court to block the entire law pending a finding whether the parts related to sales to those under 21 and to out-of-state residents can be allowed. The Washington state attorney general has vowed to fight it out in court.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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