Judge Rules Washington State Preemption Statute Trumps Local ‘Safe Storage’ Law

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By the Second Amendment Foundation

A Snohomish County, WA Superior Court judge has ruled that a 2018-passed ordinance in the City of Edmonds requiring so-called “safe storage” of firearms “impermissibly regulates firearms in violation” of Washington’s 36-year-old preemption law, in a lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.

SAF and NRA are joined by three private citizens, Brett Bass, Curtis McCullough and Swan Seaberg.

Judge Anita Farris handed down the ruling, possibly setting the stage for a state Supreme Court showdown. In a separate case, filed by SAF and NRA against the City of Seattle in neighboring King County, a different judge ruled the opposite. That case is now before the State Court of Appeals.

“We’re encouraged by the judge’s ruling,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Judge Farris’ ruling confirms what we’ve argued all along, that under the state preemption law, first adopted in 1983 and strengthened in 1985, the Legislature has sole authority over firearms regulation in the state.”

The preemption statute is designed to create statewide uniformity in firearms regulation, he noted. Allowing municipalities to chip away at the law by adding a storage requirement simply cannot be permissible, he added.

The judge denied the city’s request in the SAF/NRA summary judgment victory to stay the decision until it can be appealed. Gottlieb noted that Judge Farris was having none of it. The judge explained that part of the “stay test” requires showing a reasonable probability of success on the merits, and she saw no possibility of success for the city on appeal. She described it as “not a close call.”

“Michael Bloomberg’s gun control lobbying group has been supporting similar restrictive local laws all over the country,” Gottlieb stated. “This victory will help stop this across the country. Preemption uniformity was a good idea in the 1980s and it is still the most commonsense way to deal with firearms regulation,” Gottlieb observed. “What is the law in one part of a state should be the law in all parts of that state.”

Under the judge’s order, pending appeal, a permanent injunction will take effect against the Edmonds storage ordinance, and if an appeal is unsuccessful, that requirement must be repealed.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Stephen Fogg and Eric Lindbergh with Corr Cronin LLP of Seattle.

 

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

comments

  1. avatar Timoth Toroian says:

    Anybody gonna get un-elected for this local stunt? Some mayor or councilperson? or Council people?

    1. avatar Grumpy F'er says:

      My state of WA is soooooooooooo doomed. I really don’t see any way out of this other than seceding from the Seattle metro area (read: the rest of the state except metro).

      Anyone looking for a slightly used Washingtonian?

      Turn-ons: Hard work, rule of law, guns, being left alone. Will patrol a perimeter for food.
      Turn-offs: Dems and all they produce and stand for.

      1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        My wife and I just retired. We’re thinking about buying a compound in the mountains of North Carolina (or Tennessee). We might could use some perimeter security.

        1. avatar Zuda says:

          Welcome, bro. I live in Tennessee, if you come here. Might I suggest, though, that you stay and stand for what’s right where you are needed the most? There in Washington? It’s a great place. Please don’t let it go to ruins to these scumbags.

  2. avatar Hannibal says:

    State preemption laws are great. It’s bad enough that we have 50 states with 50 different sets of laws but the idea of having to check the bylaws and ordinances of every single po-dunk town you go through for criminal violations (as opposed to posted parking laws, etc) is just asinine.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Nay, it is the intended design so that gun owners run afoul of such ordinances and lose their guns, and maybe more.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        That and to make it such a PITA to travel with a gun that people just don’t bother (either to bring the gun or they just avoid the area, either works since gun owners are *icky*).

        That’s Denver’s rationale and, honestly, it’s pretty damn effective.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          They are are doing their best to kill preemption here in Florida, and if I had to lay money on it, I think they will pull it off, with the standard library of deceitful Leftist tricks of playing on emotions.

          SCOTUS Justice Thomas *has* to see the kinds of games the Leftists are playing with the 2A, if we get a positive ruling on carry as a constitutional right, I sure hope he has some ideas on per-emptivly slapping their bullshit down.

          As in, (hopefully), “The right to bear arms means what it says, with *very* few exemptions, like courts…”

    2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Here’s what’s wrong with every town having different laws in the same state. A kid in Brookfield, Illinois got a ticket for having clearance lights on his truck. So, every time he went to visit his mom, he had to remove them.

  3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Anti gun pariahs never take No,unConstitutional or Shall Not Be Infringed to heart,they immediately start the next infringement scheme.

  4. avatar Swarf says:

    Good.

    “Common sense” is two words.

  5. avatar Craig in IA says:

    If nothing else, upholding the various states’ preemption laws costs Bloomberg a huge amount of money. Poor Mikey- all wasted…

    Now, if there was a state with laws that mandated the losing plaintiff had to pay for the defense of existing law in such frivolous suits it’d be even greater.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      So far he is one and one in the trial courts, so he may yet prevail on appeal and ultimately in the Washington State Supreme Court. It is uncertain how the US Supreme Court would react, since it turned away a challenge to the similar safe-storage law enacted by San Fransisco, after that ordinance was upheld on appeal to the Ninth Circus, and this particular, thus raising no federal question law was challenged only on the state pre-emption statute, from what is said here..

  6. avatar James Lybbert says:

    As a Constitutional Republic Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution defines what powers are granted the general (federal) govt. Nowhere is there a Constitutional grant of authority to regulate firearms. The bill of rights then restrict the government further to ensure those specific rights are not infringed for any reason.
    Amendment 2, precludes and prevents the government from infringing upon the citizens preexisting right to bear arms. Any ruling by any judge to the contrary is wrong and unconstitutional.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      That is the way it is supposed to work,however that has been perverted without aid of Constitutional amendment.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      The State of California Constitution’s Article 3, Section 1 consists of a single sentence:

      “The State of California is an inseparable part
      of the United States of America, and the
      United States Constitution is the supreme law
      of the land.”

      ****
      Seems to be pretty simple and straightforward, so I don’t know why SAF, FPC, GOC, et al, haven’t argued this point to have nearly all CA gun control laws struck down in their entirety.

  7. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Good!!!

  8. avatar D Y says:

    Hate to be negative, but zero belief the higher court, which upheld the blatantly impermissable ballot initiative that moved us quickly towards California style gun control, will do anything but vote against gun owners, using whatever narrow language they can find to do so.

    This state is lost to anyone that believes in freedom. It’s not going to be easy (if even possible) to return to pre-progressivism here.

  9. avatar NORDNEG says:

    You people got to understand this is the pacific north west, anything the liberals want they get. Same as the east coast, without Supreme Court intervention, they win every time… Liberal college towns rule both coast’s, it the liberal instructors stupid.

  10. avatar enuf says:

    Yup, State law is bigger than County or City law.

    Simple math!

  11. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

    Hell yeah, a win for the local boys.

  12. avatar Hankus says:

    And as always, once this reaches the WA State Supreme Kangaroo Court, the anti-gun side will prevail. Face it, the whole Left Coast sucks. Because LEFT Coast.

  13. avatar Jerry Sweet says:

    Guns will someday go away. The new world order has to disarm us before they enslave us. When it goes hot aim for center mass and fire for effect

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