Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityStevens County reluctantly readies for open carry ban – DC QUAKE
May 26, 2024

Stevens County reluctantly readies for open carry ban

3 min read

The Stevens County Commissioners want to know exactly what needs to be listed on signage to ban open carry of weapons in public meeting places as required by a new law.

The law that limits open carry does not apply only to firearms. The prohibition list includes: throwing stars, air guns, nunchakus, stun guns, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, dagger or dirk, or other weapons that can cause death or bodily injury.

“Do we have to have a sign that lists all that?” asked Commissioner Wes McCart at Monday’s meeting where the matter was discussed.

The law requires authorities to designate and clearly mark the areas where weapons cannot be taken. McCart and Commissioners Greg Young and Mark Burrows are reaching out to the state to find out exactly how much information has to be posted, and how big signs must be.

“This is a county that respects Second Amendment rights, and we are having to deal with another gun control law,” said Commission Chair Young in a follow-up interview.

He said the county will comply with the law, but only reluctantly.

“This whole focus on open carry supposedly started because officials in Olympia felt intimidated by protesters displaying firearms during protests” said Young. “But this is Stevens County and people here carry guns with them everywhere; it is just our way of life.”

Twice in recent years, Stevens County has issued a public reaffirmation of support for gun rights and an unwillingness to enforce laws that violate the U.S. Bill of Rights and Washington State Constitution.

“We are absolutely not going to restrict people’s rights,” said Young.

House Bill 1630 was approved along a party-line vote in the Democratically-controlled legislature and recently signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. No Republicans voted for the measure in either the House or Senate.

Rep. April Berg, D-Mill Creek, who authored the legislation, told reporters last spring that locations where democracy takes place “do not need weapons.”

The new law goes into effect July 1 and extends restrictions from 2021 already placed on courtrooms, jails, schools, airports, the campus of the state Capitol or near public rallies and demonstrations.

Under HB 1630, the open carry ban extends to places where government bodies meet, election offices, ballot counting facilities and voting centers.

Law enforcement officers are exempt, as are private security personnel who have completed firearm training.

A person licensed to carry a concealed weapon can still have a gun in buildings and facilities where meetings are taking place, but not at a ballot-counting facility.

Public entities are required to provide a secure lockbox to retain banned weapons while the owner is accessing services.

Any person caught violating the new law is subject to a misdemeanor citation. Second and subsequent violations can bring a gross misdemeanor charge.

People found in violation of the law will have their concealed carry license revoked for three years, or be prevented from obtaining one for the same period of time.

If a juvenile violates the law, he or she shall be detained for up to 72 hours and subject to a mental health evaluation.

This article was originally posted on Stevens County reluctantly readies for open carry ban

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