Whidbey News-Times


Oak Harbor City Council can’t just ignore state law | Letters

January 6, 2013 · Updated 4:08 PM


I read with great interest your story, “Oak Harbor takes a stab at gun regulation.” I must ask this question. If I, John Havercroft, merely a regular citizen declared publicly that I did not care what state law prohibited, that obeying that state law made me uncomfortable and I had no intention of obeying that state law, would a story about me be worded the same?

From your article, “Councilman Rick Servatius said he’s a former member of the National Rifle Association and supports people’s rights, but he said he’s not comfortable with people being able to carry guns around in places packed with children.” Councilman Servatius — I am not comfortable with elected officials who are willing to disregard and disobey state laws because compliance with the law makes them uncomfortable.

The state law in question here is the Revised Code of Washington, RCW 9.41.290, which reads in part, “Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are pre-empted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.” Councilmen Servatius and Almberg, do you understand what the words “shall not” mean in state law? Don’t you expect me to abide by the shall nots contained in state law? Why are you above the law?

I am also not comfortable with a chief of police who admits in public that his plans are to encourage his department to use firearms to commit crimes against law abiding citizens.

Again, from your article, “The council members questioned Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green about how police would respond if someone was walking around a park with a rifle, which is legal under state and federal law. He said the officers would contact the person, at gunpoint, and ask him or her to secure the firearm.”

In carrying out Chief Green’s response, his officers would be committing a gross misdemeanor violating RCW 9A.36.070 which is the section of state law dealing with assault. RCW 9A.36.070, “(1)

A person is guilty of coercion if by use of a threat he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from, or to abstain from conduct which he or she has a legal right to engage in.

(2) “Threat” as used in this section means:

(a) To communicate, directly or indirectly, the intent immediately to use force against any person who is present at the time; or

(b) Threats as defined in *RCW 9A.04.110(27) (a), (b), or (c).”

(3) Coercion is a gross misdemeanor.”

I must ask this: where is the concern about these people who are supportive of, at a minimum, ignoring Washington state law and the Washington State Constitution; and, at worst, advocating committing crimes while armed with firearms against citizens? Or are these people simply above the law? “For the sake of the children,” of course.


John Havercroft




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