A recent letter to the editor criticized Lynden’s museum for saying they would return World War II-era guns to lenders because the museum’s attorney recommended it do so or “challenge” the law. Laws are usually passed in the hope that it will alter or control behavior determined to be unsafe or unacceptable. The success or failure of a law depends, at least in part, on the willingness of the populace to obey the law. A simple fact is that there will always be those who decide a law does not apply to them.
It is commonplace in the United States that many innocent people die each day in legally or illegally obtained (stolen) automobiles because one or more of our many motor vehicle laws was violated. That too is a fact not worth debating. Adding more laws to our motor vehicle code has very little effect on the carnage, yet we are expected to obey those laws whether their enforcement is or is not a high priority of law enforcement officers.
Lynden’s museum sought to comply with Initiative 594 and in their efforts to do so demonstrated that there are unintended consequences to what I believe to be a bad law passed with otherwise good intentions. Initiative 594 will have little or no effect on those who are not willing to abide by the law but we’re stuck with it so let’s not spend too much time criticizing those who at least try to comply.