Washington State has had a preemption law in place for 35 years which prevents local jurisdictions from enacting firearm-related regulations that are more strict than state level laws. The preemption law protects lawful gun owners who travel within the state, eliminating the need to know the individual gun laws of every county and town they may travel through.
The city of Edmonds violated the preemption law last year when the city council enacted a so-called safe storage law. That prompted a lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
The city moved to have the suit dismissed, but a county judge has ruled it can go forward. Here’s the SAF’s press release . . .
BELLEVUE, WA – A Snohomish County Superior Court judge will allow a lawsuit challenging a so-called “safe storage” ordinance in the City of Edmonds to proceed, ruling that all plaintiffs in the case have standing to challenge the ordinance as a violation of Washington State’s 35-year-old preemption law that placed sole authority for firearms regulation in the hands of the Legislature.
The case is brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and two private citizens, Brett Bass and Swan Seaburg. Judge Anita L. Farris denied a motion by the City to dismiss the case, noting that “the Plaintiff’s claim that the ordinance is preempted by state statute is ripe for determination.”
Edmonds adopted a “safe storage” requirement last year, which violates the preemption statute. SAF and NRA promptly filed suit with the two private citizens.
Judge Farris has done what King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde would not do when she dismissed a similar lawsuit against the City of Seattle on technical grounds after the city argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. SAF and NRA have appealed her ruling. Seattle has adopted a “safe storage” requirement, possibly emboldened to challenge state preemption because it also adopted a controversial “gun violence tax” in 2015 that the State Supreme Court allowed to stand.
“We’re encouraged by Judge Farris’ order,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The city knows this ordinance violates the state preemption statute, and we believe this ordinance, and the one in Seattle, were passed specifically to erode the state law.
“The cities have desperately wanted to remove the preemption law so they can establish their own, possibly contradictory gun control rules,” he continued. “Their ultimate goal is to discourage citizens from exercising their rights under the state and federal constitutions by financial intimidation through fines that could climb to $10,000 under the Edmonds ordinance. The cities want to take Washington State back in time, to an era when a patchwork quilt of confusing, conflicting gun laws existed. State Preemption did away with that, and it’s time for the courts to end this nonsense.”
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.