Arms expo won't comply with Washington's background check law

A gun show in Yakima this weekend advises that it will have "no constitutional infringement," from the state's background checks. (Photo: KPBS)

A gun show in Yakima this weekend advises that it will have “no constitutional infringement,” from the state’s background checks. (Photo: KPBS)

An event that bills itself as a “liberty market and gun show” set for this weekend plans to allow active non-compliance with ballot Initiative 594, the state’s controversial expanded background check law.

Organizers for the Arms Expo 2015, scheduled for Yakima June 20-21 describes the event as a constitutional gun show and has made clear that the reach of the Evergreen State’s new gun law stops at the door.

“Private sales and vendors of guns, supplies, and food will be welcome. We encourage commercial vendors to refuse unconstitutional laws and background checks, and encourage patriots to support those bold vendors as well as buy from each other in defiance of lawless legislation,” reads the event’s website.

“We will be exercising what I would refer to as constitutional sales where there’s no background check of any sort,” organizer Sam Wilson told Oregon Public Radio.

The event will also offer AR-15 building classes, speakers such as Mike Vanderboegh who runs the popular Sipsey Street Irregulars website and demonstrations on, “canning, patriot networking, self-defense, how to apply liberty to your everyday life, and much more!”

Washington’s I-594 background check initiative, which was backed extensively by a core group of billionaires and national gun control groups, was approved by voters in November.

However, in the days and weeks after its passage, the measure has been derided and made the subject of protests that have drawn thousands.

The Expo has caught the attention of preparedness bloggers and groups such as the Oath Keepers who have been very active in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere in recent months.

“The Arms Expo in Yakima is just the latest example of the nationwide campaign of armed civil disobedience in the wake of the unconstitutional state laws passed in the anti-firearm hysteria after Sandy Hook,” Vanderboegh told Thursday.

To Vanderboegh, non-compliance is a logical step to help defeat draconian gun laws.

“In each of the states – Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Colorado, Washington state and now Oregon these laws have been nullified by quiet campaigns of non-compliance. We have publicly defied them, resisted them, evaded them, smuggled in forbidden items and dared the politicians to do anything about it and to date they have not known whether to defecate or go blind,” Vanderboegh said. “We have declared that our God-given, natural, and inalienable rights to liberty and property are not subject to negotiation. The question is not why are we going to be in Yakima defying Bloomberg’s purchased tyranny. The question is, why are you not?”

As for the Yakima Police Department, it will be hands-off for the event.

“The Yakima Police Department has never policed gun shows and we have no intention to start doing that despite this new law that we believe is going to be challenged in courts,” Spokesperson Mike Bastinelli told local media. “It’s really the responsibility of the people putting on the gun shows to police themselves.” reached out to I-594 backers, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, for a statement but did not receive comment by article posting.

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