Sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun law could be liable

SEATTLE (AP) — The state attorney general says county sheriffs who refuse to enforce Washington’s new gun laws could be held liable if they refuse to perform expanded background checks and someone who shouldn’t buy a gun is able to buy one and uses it in a crime.

Bob Ferguson wrote an open letter to law enforcement on Tuesday saying he was confident the voter-approved law was constitutional.

The Seattle Times reported that at least 13 county sheriffs have said they won’t enforce the law, Initiative 1639, which voters passed by a wide margin in November.

The new law has already raised the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. Starting on July 1, the law also requires expanded background checks for those rifles and can hold gun owners responsible if their gun was stored carelessly and is used in a crime.