Second Amendment supporters in Washington state want to file for divorce.
Tired of the recent wave of anti-gun ballot initiatives, a band of Second Amendment activists wants to create a 51st state made up of the 20 Washington countries that lay east of the Cascade mountains. The proposed state would be called, “Liberty.”
This group is specifically rallying against the recently-approved Initiative 1639, which imposed universal background checks, raised the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles, established a mandatory waiting period for rifle purchases, and mandated the safe storage of all firearms.
Washington state has seen its share of gun control passed over the past few years, with bump stock bans and red flag gun confiscation orders coming into law.
As crazy as some people think a breakup of Washington state would be, this is not exactly a far-fetched idea. Similar concepts have already been floated in states like California and Colorado.
As the country becomes more culturally divided along rural and urban lines, separatism might be the way to go for states that want to maintain socio-economic stability.
Jurisdictional competition is what made Western societies great. Europe and the U.S.’s federalist systems were a stark contrast to the eastern empires of old like China and the Ottoman Empire which spanned large regions.
To maintain control of these territories, massive bureaucracies and iron-fisted rule were needed. That’s why Europe gradually prospered while Eastern empires languished into the start of the 20th century.
For gun owners in anti-gun states like Washington, which is ranked 38th according to Guns & Ammo Magazine, nullification of statewide gun control laws and state separatism are the most violable means of beating back bad gun policy.
Nullification of bad state laws has already started in the Pacific Northwest, with counties in Oregon and Washington rejecting gun control measures. This is a good first step. Then, separatism should follow. Either way, gun rights activists in Washington are on the right track.
With a country of over 330 million people covering such a wide array of territory and cultural backgrounds, the idea of using traditional political means to restore gun rights seems very unrealistic. Cultural differences and institutional inertia make this a seemingly futile endeavor in the U.S.
Once people develop more of a decentralization mindset that promotes the idea of increased jurisdictional competition, we can see unprecedented policy innovation through the emergence of “freedom enclaves.”
The 20th century was the century of universalism and statism, but we can make the 21st century the era of decentralization. Proposals like the state of Liberty would be a good start.