The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Cothren suggest county adopt anti-1639 ordinance

Officials say gun control measures are unconstitutional


November 29, 2018

Wahkiakum County may soon join other counties and municipalities across the state in codifying opposition to new law created by voter approved Initiative 1639.

The initiative requires a variety of measures designed to increase firearm safety and training in their use. It passed overwhelmingly in urban areas but failed in rural areas such as Wahkiakum County where voters opposed it 1,581 to 862.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Dan Cothen, a lifelong hunter and gun owner, proposed creation of an ordinance opposing provisions of the initiative. Commissioners and their audience discussed the issue, and commissioners said they would consult with the prosecuting attorney about such an ordinance.

“As some of you folks are aware, we’re losing our rights,” Cothren said. “This thing is being challenged in court; it doesn’t fit my values, and I don’t believe it fits the values of a lot of folks in Wahkiakum County.”

A major concern for Cothren is a requirement that firearms be locked up when not in use. That restricts a rural resident’s ability to protect life and property.

“It violates my second Amendment rights; we’ve got to stand up for our rights,” he said. “It’s unconstitutional; it’s being challenged in court.”

Wahkiakum County Undersheriff Gary Howell concurred.

“From the conversations I’ve had with [Sheriff] Mark [Howie], we do not believe it is constitutional,” Howell said, “because the way this is written, it says we’re going to come to your house to check if your guns are secured, that we’re going to charge you with crimes if your guns are not secured inside your house correctly . . . and that is not the case.”

Commissioner Mike Backman commented he was unsure how the county could refuse to support state law.

“I would strongly support a letter saying why it doesn’t fit our county,” he said. “But you don’t just get to pick what law you don’t want to follow.”

“There are three counties looking to prepare ordinances to protect your gun rights,” said Commissioner Blair Brady. “Adams County, I believe is taking the lead.

“But the reality of the situation is that of the state’s 39 counties, only four or five voted to pass this.”

Brady suggested looking at the ordinances that other counties develop to see if they’re applicable to Wahkiakum County.

“That’s fine; we can look at it,” Backman said.

“The whole thing is, when you’re infringing on my rights, I’m not going to give in to it,” Cothren said. “I want to fight it with everything I can fight it with.”


Reader Comments

Johnny writes:

As a Wahkiakum resident, Cothren has my support!


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