Washington town might declare itself a sanctuary city for gun rights

REPUBLIC, Wash. -- The town of Republic may declare itself a sanctuary city from a newly passed gun measure.

Republic is in northeastern Washington, about two-and-a-half hours from Spokane, near the Canadian border. About 1,000 people live there.

The mayor there is considering an ordinance, proposed by the police chief to make Republic a sanctuary city for gun rights. This is in response to voters across the state passing Initiative 1639.

That initiative puts more restrictions on buying and storing guns. But in Ferry County, where Republic is, nearly three out of four voters opposed it. The police chief, Loren Culp in Republic has already said he would not enforce the law.

“I felt that it was such a blatant disregard for constitutional rights that I felt like I had no choice but to stand up for the people that I serve," Culp said in an interview with Fox News.

"Everybody in Republic has a gun. We don't have a giant crime rate because nobody in their right mind is gonna come to a house where people have guns and know how to use them," Mayor Elbert Koontz said.

The new gun law bars 18- to 20-year-olds from buying semi-automatic rifles and makes it a potential felony if your gun ends up in the wrong hands. It also creates enhanced background checks and mandatory firearms training.

“We are a society built on the rule of law,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which led the campaign for I-1639. “If we have leaders that are responsible for ensuring the laws are enforced, picking and choosing which laws they get to enforce, we have a huge problem.”

The city council will discuss the gun rights sanctuary city ordinance at its next meeting on Monday. They could vote on it before the state gun law takes effect in January. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office said he would review the ordinance if it passes.

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