Klickitat County sheriff won't enforce new Washington gun laws

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer says he will not enforce the new initiative that places stiff requirements on the sale and ownership of semi-automatic rifles.

Songer told the Yakima Herald-Republic that he believes the new law is unconstitutional.

“I think it’s a bad law and I think it violates people’s rights,” he told the paper. “This law will do nothing to stop crime or do anything to make our communities safer. But what it will do is make criminals out of our honest citizens.”

Initiative 1639 — approved in November — raises the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, calls for enhanced background checks, and requires buyers to complete a firearm safety course. The initiative also holds gun owners accountable if someone uses their firearm to harm themselves or others.

Republic Police Chief Loren Culp announced shortly after the November election that they wouldn't enforce the new law.

The Lewis County Sheriff's Office in November said it would "not actively seek out violations," but that deputies would enforce the law.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a joint lawsuit challenging the initiative.