OLYMPIA — Roughly 100 gun rights activists marched on the state capitol Jan. 31 to rally 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 after announcing last month he would run for the seat of House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, after criticizing Wilcox’s leadership regarding issues involving state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane.
Shea was expelled from the House Republican Caucus and stripped of his committee appointments after a private investigative report paid for by the House of Representatives and conducted by the Rampart Group accused Shea of participating in acts of domestic terrorism for his involvement with armed standoffs with law enforcement in Nevada and Oregon.
“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, the founder of the Patriot Prayer group, spoke to the crowd and praised Shea’s willingness to stand up for the rights of citizens in Bunkerville, Nevada, and Priest River, Idaho, where 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 J.T. 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 a gesture with his middle finger towards Wilcox’s office.
Gun rights advocates wore tactical gear and carried assault rifles in front of the House chamber as they spoke to the crowd of the 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 last week adopted a resolution to nullify the initiative, claiming the regulations are an infringement on Second Amendment rights.
Nearly 60 percent of the state’s voters approved I-1639 in November 2018, which took effect on 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 be enforced as they currently exist.
The Legislature is currently considering bills outlawing gun magazines that automatically feed more than 10 rounds and a bill requiring firearm training for people who obtain permits to carry concealed guns.
Alexander Roggenkamp urged people to train themselves physically and 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.