OLYMPIA — Roughly 100 gun rights activists marched on the State Capitol and rallied in opposition to recently proposed gun regulation bills.
Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percent gun rights advocacy group, spoke to an excited crowd Friday. He announced earlier this month he would run for the seat of House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, after criticizing Wilcox’s leadership regarding issues surrounding Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane.
“Today closes my first month of fundraising,” Marshall said to the crowd. “I am happy to announce that it is going to be a shock throughout the Republican establishment.”
Joey Gibson, founder of the Patriot Prayer group, spoke to the crowd, saying that Shea stood up for the rights of citizens in Bunkerville, Nev., and Priest River, Idaho when he felt the government had impeded their rights.
It is alleged that Shea organized armed support to prevent the government seizure of firearms from a veteran in Priest River and helped to organize and negotiate during the Bundy family’s armed standoff in Bunkerville.
Gibson led supporters to the office of House Minority Leader Wilcox to demand due process for Shea.
An armed member of Washington Three Percent cursed Wilcox and called him a coward when he did not show up to address the marchers. The man yelled profanities as he made am obscene gesture toward Wilcox’s office.
Gun rights advocates wore tactical gear and carried assault rifles in front of the House Chamber as they told the crowd there is a need for resistance against a “tyrannical” government.
Meanwhile, resistance to gun regulations such as voter-approved Initiative-1639 continues as county commissioners from Stevens County this week adopted a resolution to nullify the initiative, claiming the regulations are an infringement of Second Amendment rights.
Nearly 60 percent of the state’s voters approved I-1639 in November 2018, which took effect July 1, 2019. The law calls for enhanced background checks, requires firearm safety training, raises the age for gun ownership to 21 and contains gun storage provisions.
Several law enforcement officials in the state vowed last year not to actively enforce the law, claiming that some of its provisions are unconstitutional.
And now, at least one county government has deemed it unconstitutional.
Stevens County Commissioner Steve Parker said any gun regulation to be implemented would be an infringement or restriction on constitutional rights. Parker urged that laws just be enforced as they currently exist.
The Legislature is currently considering bills that would outlaw gun magazines that automatically feed more than 10 rounds and a bill that would require firearm training for people who obtain permits to carry concealed guns.
Alexander Roggenkamp urged people to train themselves physically; he handed out cards for his firearm and survival training courses.
“If we have to fight, you guys need to actually be ready to fight,” he said to the crowd.
This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.