Commissioners as “constitutional tribunal”

On March 12, 2018, it was reported in The Daily World that our three county commissioners declined to support a resolution opposing oil drilling in our coastal waters. While commissioners Vickie Raines and Randy Ross were opposed to offshore drilling, a resolution was not voted on because Commissioner Wes Cormier was opposed. Mr. Cormier felt that the resolution opposing offshore drilling was “beyond the purview of the county commissioners.”

In the article, Mr. Cormier was quoted as saying:

“Do you want your county commissioners talking about the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War? Do you want your county commissioners talking about coining money? Do you want your county commissioners talking about the Federal Reserve? The Second Amendment?” Cormier asked. “Do you want us to weigh in on school district levies? … I was hired as county commissioner to do county business, and I’m going to stick to county business.”

My how things have changed in one year. Last November, 59 percent of the voters in our state voted in favor of Initiative 1639 and it became law, implementing some reasonable and common-sense requirements on gun ownership. Now our commissioners are ready to pass a resolution opposing I-1639. It seems they are falling in line with a number of county commissioners and sheriffs across the state saying they disapprove of this initiative and claim that it infringes on their Second Amendment rights. If they really believe that, then they should file litigation with the courts and seek to have it overturned. They should not be setting themselves up as a constitutional tribunal. As someone once said, this is beyond the purview of the commissioners.

Our state Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, has said that he believes that I-1639 is constitutional and that he will defend it in court if it becomes necessary. In an open letter to Washington’s sheriffs and police chiefs refusing to enforce I-1639, AG Ferguson wrote “Initiative 1639 was submitted to the people of Washington and was adopted as state law by nearly 60 percent of the people. No action by a city council or county commission can change this state law or the responsibilities and duties that the law vests in Washington’s law enforcement agencies.”

David Linn

Ocean Shores