Publisher's Note: Snaza Appreciated as Lawmakers Take Aim at Gun Rights

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Unbridled by the transparency and accountability that in-person lawmaking provides, Democrats in Olympia enacted their most radical agenda ever in the recent legislative session.

Among the bevy of tax increases, misguided and damaging attempts at counteracting climate change, flawed efforts at police accountability that make one of the world’s most difficult jobs all the more dangerous, liberal lawmakers also continued to erode our right to bear arms.

The Second Amendment couldn’t be more clear — “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“Shall not be infringed.”

Despite this clear language, our friends on the left would have you believe that times have changed, that the founders never intended for us to take their words literally. The most common weapon at the time was a musket, they say.

You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts, especially when the constitution contains absolute clarity on the matter.

I know those to the left of me are well-intentioned. I am not alleging a diabolical scheme to take away our firearms and make us servants of the state. But I am saying that good intentions don’t justify unconstitutional overreach at the hands of those we elect to represent us.

While there was no shortage of attempts to limit or eliminate the constitutional rights of Washingtonians last session, one deserves a close review as it was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday.

It’s now illegal to open carry at public demonstrations and at the state capitol campus.

To some, this must sound like a sensible approach. If there are no firearms, surely there would be no violence.

But this supposes that someone who intends to unleash violence would care about the law in the first place.

“I was going to shoot up the protest, but sadly, it’s illegal, so I can’t,” the would-be attacker would surely say.

It’s as ludicrous as it sounds.

Instead, those who wish to limit our Second Amendment rights rely fully on emotion and a misplaced understanding of what causes shootings. The same can be applied to the argument that additional gun control will end mass shootings. You’ll never eliminate criminal behavior by punishing law-abiding citizens.

Some mock Second Amendment advocates for the simplicity of these arguments, but none can counter the most simple and common rebuttal to their government overreach — “if you criminalize guns, only criminals will have guns.”

I am still waiting for a cogent argument as to how this is not accurate.

There’s common ground to be found when it comes to ending gun violence, but it will never be found if one side of the debate is consistently going after the rights of the other in order to solve a problem with much deeper root causes than the availability of guns.

Sadly, any misplaced effort by Democrats in Washington to “solve” gun violence will be rubber-stamped by a state Supreme Court that simply knows no bounds. These are the same judicial experts who came within one vote of releasing almost every inmate near the front end of the ongoing pandemic.

That’s why I value our local law enforcement, men such as Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, who this week proposed that Lewis County become a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” He’s not proposing lawlessness. Law enforcement officials have discretion when enforcing the law already. In Washington especially, there are so many laws on the books that we would need a police force five times the current standard in order to enforce them all.

In my mind, it seems Snaza would simply not prioritize the enforcement of laws that punish law-abiding citizens who find themselves afoul of new laws that reach beyond that of the U.S. Constitution.

Do you want deputies arresting domestic violence offenders or a completely peaceful individual who happens to be carrying a gun at a political rally? It’s not always that simple, but it’s a good example.

According to The Chronicle’s reporting, Snaza said his Second Amendment sanctuary proposal would be “nothing more than a statement.”

“And it says, basically, Lewis County will abide by the Second Amendment. And if we want to be upfront, we have to realize we’re continually being challenged,” he said. “Our Second Amendment rights are being chipped away, our First Amendment rights are being chipped away, and when you lose the first two, the rest go.”

That’s a statement I can get behind. I thank Snaza for his clear-headed and dogged support of the Second Amendment. It gives me hope that we’re not all damned by the decisions of those in Olympia who have their legislative sites on the wrong target.

•••

Chad Taylor is the publisher and owner of The Chronicle. He can be reached at chad@chronline.com.

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sixtoecallico

I noticed you jumped right over the "well regulated" to :"be infringed". I can just see Danial Boone running around with an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine. A flint lock, muzzle loaded rifle that; is what the 2nd amendment was talking about. I wonder what the founding fathers would have thought how you've interpreted the 2nd amendment. . The writers of the constitution knew very well what a groups of "rebels" could do. You don't think they didn't add the well regulated for a reason. Don't get me started on the ethics of Sheriff Rob Snaza who thinks he's law, order, judge, jury, supreme court all rolled into one.. The all knowing Snaza will enforce what laws he likes and ignore those is doesn't. He conveniently forgets the oath he swore to when is became sheriff.

The man knows nothing of ethics.

.

Sunday, May 16
LL Hauer

Agreed, sixtoecalico, that “well regulated militia” phrase is too frequently forgotten in discussions of the 2nd Amendment. Basically, the idea of regulation is built directly into the 2nd Amendment, a very inconvenient fact to be reminded of for those who believe as Mr. Taylor and Sheriff Snaza do.

I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Taylor’s support for Sheriff Snaza’s push to exceed the authority of his office to push what would fundamentally be a non-binding and purposeless slogan.

In his recent statements, Sheriff Snaza said: “I’m not trying to make this a political statement.” Let’s be clear. This is most certainly a political statement. And if it’s nothing more than a statement, why exactly is he using your taxpayer-funded work time to push it? What’s the point?

As a law enforcement official, Sheriff Snaza’s job is to enforce laws, not to make them. He is going far beyond the responsibilities of his job in pushing this proposal. This is a particular waste of time and energy because this grandiose statement, like the one recently offered by the Cowlitz County Commissioners, are not legally binding and are empty of meaning.

Let’s also clarify what is truly constitutional, since both Sheriff Snaza and Mr. Taylor seem to have a myopic view of what this means. Our Constitution sets up a system in which legislators propose laws, voters pass them, sheriffs enforce them as passed, district attorneys prosecute noncompliance and courts exist to monitor the entire process. Deciding whether a law is unconstitutional or not remains the responsibility of our courts, moving through a process of critical analysis through local, state, federal and the Supreme judiciaries.

Neither Sheriff Snaza, Mr, Taylor, nor you, nor I can individually decide what is “constitutional” or not. To avoid the process laid out in the actual Constitution is, by definition, unconstitutional. If personal feelings are the gauge of what counts as “constitutional,” we cease to function as a democracy and instead move toward anarchy.

It’s also worth noting where Sheriff Snaza’s priorities lie. To denounce the police reform measures passed by the state legislature in law enforcement agencies as “dishonoring” the profession illustrates a myopic, tunnel vision. The rest of us who have stepped back and taken a broader look at police and law enforcement activity in our area and the nation see our state passing long overdue and effective legislation to prevent the abuse of power by those with literally the power of life and death over others due to their position. As we’ve seen in the cases across the nation, but even right here with Centralia Police Officer Phil Reynolds (see from April 23: https://www.chronline.com/stories/how-fired-cops-win-their-jobs-back-arbitration,262923?), there are instances too numerous to count of “dishonorable” officers mistreating citizens.

Sheriff Snaza, please turn your attention and energies to enforcing the laws on the books and just do your job as sherrif. Please leave it to the courts do their job of deciding what’s actually “constitutional” or not.

Mr. Taylor, please bear in mind that the views you so scornfully attribute to “Democrats in Olympia” are shared by at least the 40% of Lewis County residents who voted blue in 2020, plus many, many gun owners like myself who believe in common sense gun control. I’m 100% in support of preventing open carry of weapons at political demonstrations to protect the First Amendment rights of unarmed people.

Monday, May 17
Clarence

The argument that the second amendment can only protect muskets, since they were the only gun in town, it just flawed and not based in fact but in ignorance of our history. Just prior to the Revolutionary War, there were no less than 4 different firearms that fired in very rapid succession: 1) Belton Flintlock, 2) Puckle Gun, 3) Girandoni Rifle, and 4) Pepper Box Revolver.

In the case of the Belton self loader, Ben Franklin himself persuaded General Washington to order 100 of these weapons. The point being that when the Second Amendment was written, there were indeed weapons well beyond the firepower of a single shot musket already in use and well known to the writers of the Bill of Rights. There can be no doubt that the First United States Congress and James Madison recognized the advancement of firearms and needed the Citizens of this newly established country to always have the right to "keep and bear arms" in order to serve in the "well regulated Militia" when needed. That such weapons have been used against our own children by those who's hearts are pure evil is beyond tragic, but taking away this freedom from law abiding Citizens is not the answer. Evil has been and always will be among us. Banning modern firearms will never change that.

Last point. If we are to abolish the ownership of modern firearms by using the argument that the Second Amendment only protects the technology when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1789 then it too follows that this electronic comment, your texting, television, wireless communications, and the Internet are not protected forms of free speech under the 1st Amendment, and subject to any censorship our Federal, State, and Local Governments see fit to enact. After all, mass media in 1789 could only have applied to newspaper and those gifted with good lungs and a strong voice. Be careful what you wish for.

Monday, May 17
sixtoecallico

Clarence... You missed the point. What was the common technology of the time. What type of weapon did the citizenry own. You mentioned four rapid fire guns but researching them I found that none were available to the citizens of the times.. The first design was offered to congress but found to be not only expensive, but experimental as only two were ever made. As to the letter from Benjamin Franklin the letter I found was a letter of introduction and the invention he was proposing was a submarine. If yo have a reputable resource for another I like to know. The second two never went past the patent and were never produced. The existence of them to the founding fathers perhaps was possible but unlikely.. The last was conceived in the 1500s but was not put into a usable form until the 1830s So you are right, a learned, well read founding fathers would have known of these potential weapons, just as they may have knows. of Leonardo Da Vinici's flying machine nor did the construct the Bill of Rights on what the potential future for if they did they would have given the right to vote to women, set the slave free, etc. The Bill of Rights was constructed for the citizen of the United States for whom the constitution was constructed did not have nor had conceived of such a weapon.

The debate about an evolving Constitution is an interesting one. A real fence sitters. Yes let's interpret the constitution to fit the times, but not so it goes to far. Let's expand bearing arms to automatic weapons, but not grant rights to certain segments of the population. Let's allow euthanasian but refuse health insurance for terminal illness. Let's laws obey laws about motorist wearing seat belts to prevent injury/death but refuse to wear masks to prevent illness/death. You have freedom to say what you want, but you can't yell fire in a theater. You can express you opinion, but not on a privately owned forum. It seems we all, including our judiciary, have opinions about how little or how far the interpretation and the creation of law in allowed.

In your comment you state "needed the Citizens of this newly established country to always have the right to "keep and bear arms" in order to serve in the "well regulated Militia" when needed." This point confuses me a bit. When the Bill of Rights was established the federal government had a very small military force. The colonies/states formed local militia groups. But as the United States evolved the state militias were abolished by many states. Seeing a need for a well regulated state military the Militia Act of 1903 beefed up state militias with federal money and they became the "national guard" a very well regulated militia. So in the 21st century what militia are you referring to when needing automatic weapons.

I wish our law abiding citizens were also logical citizens... We own more guns per person than anywhere in the world. How many do we need for sport.? How many do we need for safety? I know someone is going to say "If I can afford it why not?" My response is, do have debt? If you have debt you can't afford it. Do you have savings for emergencies like illness, disasters, etc?. If not, you can't afford it.. Do you have a savings plan for your old age? If not you can't afford it. I am for common sense gun ownership.

And to my last point. "That such weapons have been used against our own children by those who's hearts are pure evil is beyond tragic" The thought brings tears and I agree that evil exists. Most organized religions agree that evil exists. But the belief that a citizenry with an abundance of guns will decrease evil is invalid. I wish it were true but it's not. If it was we should be the safest place from gun violence on earth.. Many of the guns used in mass shooting were legally obtained. Perhaps if gun owner took better care of their guns! Perhaps if mentally ill we not allowed to have guns! Perhaps if our responsible gun owners put pressure on the gun industry to make the gun less "user friendly" for children! Perhaps if gun owners were aware of family members who are not responsible enough to be around or obtain weapons made it impossible for them to touch them! Perhaps if we had a system where gun purchases were tracked and if a man buys 30 guns in the last year considers that he has something more on his mind than hunting. Perhaps! P:erhaps! Perhaps! Perhaps evil would rear it's ugly head less often if we had less guns.

PS As to your point on the 2nd Amendment. No where in my comment did I mention the 2nd Amendment and the phrase freedom of speech. But now that you brought it up your comment gave me pause and I thought a bit. about it. In fact I have many friends who are so sucked into to tweeting, facebook, FOX NEWS, MSN, Blogs and Russ Limbaugh that the quality of their lives and relationships are affected. Maybe we don't need to know what our politicians, law enforcement, friend, relatives are thinking every minute. Maybe we'd even like them better if we didn't. Perhaps if we had strict interpretation of that phrase of 2nd Amendment and all those "news" sources disappeared we might all be whole lot happier." You and I probably wouldn't shout at each other across Main Street. Too cold today! Just a thought!

Sunday, May 23
sixtoecallico

An apology for the poorly structured sentences and spelling. The new format has the font so small (I simply can't see it well) when you are creating you comments it is very difficult to see error or correct grammar.. Not to mention neither are my strong suit.

Sunday, May 23