Benton County Sheriff says proposed gun laws infringe on right to bear arms

Female county employees file complaint against Sheriff Hatcher; his lawyer responds

Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher says he’s against a series of bills aiming to increase gun restrictions in Washington state.

In a statement Friday, Hatcher listed five bills (HB2240, HB2241, SB6076, SB6077, HB2519) that would limit the types of firearms citizens can purchase, magazine capacity and require background checks on ammunition.

“Upon further review of the bills, it is clear they would infringe on a citizen’s rights to bear arms under the Washington State Constitution and under the U.S. Constitution and will face legal challenges within the courts,” Hatcher said.

RELATED: List of gun bills being considered in Olympia

He said it’s concerning that Washington’s local and state leaders aren’t doing more to take on other complex problems facing families and communities.

“For example, our State’s Mental Health crisis and lack of stabilization and treatment resources. Washington State loses more Washingtonians to drug overdoses and suicide than we do to firearms deaths. This is not to say any death is acceptable,” Hatcher said.

He goes on to say, “It is an unfortunate fact that almost all mass public shooters have extensive histories of mental health issues (whether delusional/psychiatric or depression/anger). It appears to me our leaders could find more effective ways to stop the unnecessary and tragic loss of life without infringing on our inalienable rights.”

He encourages the public to familiarize themselves with the proposed bills before calling legislators in Olympia and voicing their opinions.