Constitutional Freedoms

Will There Be a Citizen’s Arrest of State Attorney General in Washington Over Gun Laws? Not So Fast

Firearms owners are quite upset about the infringement of their rights

Gun owners met recently in Yelm, Washington — and they’re alarmed at the encroaching of the state government on their gun rights, as The Seattle Times recently reported.

The impetus for the grumbling is I-1639, a measure that imposed new gun restrictions on Washingtonians. Voters approved it in 2018 and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson endorsed the initiative, which went into effect in 2019.

The initiative increases background checks, requires purchasers of certain rifles to attend an instruction course prior to purchase, and raises the age for purchasing certain rifles to 21 from 18, among other new restrictions and requirements.

The meeting in Yelm included members of the Three Percenters, a group of people who view themselves as pro-constitutional government and opponents of tyranny. Some attendees actually expressed an interest in the possibility of making a citizen’s arrest of the attorney general.

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, whose county includes the state capitol, Olympia, and who opposed I-1639 on constitutional grounds, also attended the meeting to answer questions.

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The topic involves multiple issues. The first is I-1639’s numerous gun control edicts. It’s hard to argue these new restrictions and requirements don’t “infringe” on or “impair” a person’s right to keep and bear arms — the new measure quite literally both infringes on, and impairs, the Second Amendment and the state constitution’s Article 1, Section 24.

Second, as meeting attendees contended, “It’s starting to feel like all three branches are being stacked against us.” There is a good argument for this. During the lead up to I-1639, this author wrote several articles about the massively flawed initiative process in Democrat-controlled Washington State. This included — rather than a neutral ballot title, which is a requirement — the state-approved title designating it as a “firearms safety” and “public safety” measure.

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And third, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, “confirmed the sponsors of the initiative didn’t follow several of the rules to qualify a ballot initiative properly,” as I noted in a 2018 article. One could say I’m guilty of an understatement. There were far too many violations to even list here; many critics said I-1639 had at least 17 separate subjects. Regardless, Wyman, a Republican, didn’t feel the law gave her any legal recourse to force initiative sponsors into compliance.

The voters passed the initiative, yes, but the process was far from fair. The leftist state officials had their fingers on the scales at every point. Justice did not prevail. The Left says they’re all about fairness. There was nothing fair about how I-1639 passed. But the ends justify the — well, you know.

This unfairness and corruption of the initiative process is at the core of the argument to conduct a citizen’s arrest of a sitting, elected state official. Some at the meeting contended Ferguson is guilty of treason. But let’s just say it now: A citizen’s arrest of the AG will not happen. The motivation behind the impulse is understandable, but people like me are also exhausted by the Left’s working so hard to take away my rights in all areas of life.

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The Times reported that Sheriff Snaza doesn’t “like the many gun restrictions passed in recent years, either. And [he] also sympathized with the objections to red flag laws. Some people also asked Sheriff Snaza about his willingness to form a militia—to arrest the AG. Snaza said he’d have to swear in members of any militia, but he wouldn’t permit that at this time. While sympathetic, the sheriff wanted those in attendance to be patient and ‘not take matters into their own hands.'”

People should heed the sheriff’s level-headed advice.

Unfortunately, some people (on both the Right and Left) romanticize the notion of a hot “revolution” or “civil war.” I imagine for most of these folks, the romance would wear off quickly once people started shooting back or when they found themselves locked up.

As long as Americans have honest, uncorrupted elections, people who endorse a citizen’s arrest of political officials — or worse, violence — are not standing on firm ground. That’s what’s so dangerous about states like Washington, where immensely flawed initiatives, with the help of a leftist state government, can still pass and even secretaries of state who oppose the initiative refuse to even attempt legal action to enforce the rules.

Related: How Anti-Gun Money Is Fueling the Gun Control Narrative

How can this not give those who advocate for more extreme measures some legitimacy? How do you tell voters to trust the ballot box, when the state has poisoned the process with a blatant leftist bias?

Attendees also expressed their “radical” view that a state’s attorney general is obligated to uphold and defend the state and federal constitutions. For the AG to support laws that directly countermand rights guaranteed to the people can easily be seen as violating one’s oath of office.

Today’s Democrats are playing hot potato with a hand grenade. By ignoring laws they don’t like, accusing political opponents of being “Russian assets,” among other nefarious accusations, by ignoring elections rules and regulations, and by sanctioning violence by leftist groups like Antifa against conservatives, are the Dems setting society up for violence? By intentionally weakening trust in democratic institutions such as elections, it seems they are.

If people no longer feel they have a peaceful means to effect political change, what other resort do they have to protect their rights? If you lose an election, oh well — you try again next time, right?

That’s the American way. But what if you don’t complain about the election process when you win; but when you lose, you blame the system for being racist, swayed by Ukrainian bots or otherwise corrupt — and you’re then taking away people’s only avenue for peaceful changes in government.

What, then?

The opinions expressed by contributors and/or content partners are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of LifeZette.

Steve Pomper
meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer on the East Precinct Community Police Team and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He's also the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State."

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