First off, we wanted to thank all the community members that showed up to our March 4th, 2019 meeting. The meeting was standing room only and we had over 60 people show up with local media also in the room filming and recording the event. Douglas County Sheriff Kevin Morris was our guest and he spoke for about 15 minutes and took questions from the audience for another 30 minutes.
The crowd was very respectful but not surprisingly, very concerned about the new gun control law I-1639. The crowd rightfully pointed out that since 2014 when I-594 was passed, we are seeing a trend of public initiatives coming from Western Washington to increase restrictions on firearms. Because this process only needs a simple majority and bypasses the legislature, only three counties in Washington can pass these laws that affect and curtail gun rights for the whole state. This did not sit well with the crowd.
Sheriff Morris stated his disapproval of the law but also explained he is one of three branches (executive) and his job is to decide how the implement these laws while not infringing on people rights or conflicting with other existing law. Morris stated only two of the provisions in the law actually come across his desk. These are the age and safe storage portions. He stated on the record that his office will not be filing any formal charges and any action would come from the Douglas County Prosecutor office under Gordon Edgar. That information would be obtained through the standard sheriff's report and the Prosecutor's office would make the final decision if something is actionable.
In closing this was an important night and this type of dialogue is critical to inform the public on these issues. This issue is far from over but these steps are the correct ones to inform our county on impact and allow them to give feedback to our elected and unelected officials. We want to thank the community and Sheriff Morris for taking time to participate and we will be doing more of these forums in the future for other important issues affecting the residents of Douglas County.