Gun rights activist to Seattle: Get ready for a lawsuit

Jul 19, 2018, 5:46 AM | Updated: 8:21 am
Atticus Effect, judge, seattle, justice...

Firearm activists warn that a challenge to Seattle’s safe gun storage law is in the works.

RELATED: More Washington cities consider safe storage laws

“I think it’s almost a certainty this is going to be challenged,” said Dave Workman with GunMag, based in Bellevue. “A lot of people believe this is a clear violation of the 35-year-0ld state preemption statute which places sole authority for regulating firearms in the hands of the state Legislature”

“Whoever files the lawsuit first may be joined by other groups,” he said. “They may go in on a lawsuit like they did when Seattle tried to ban guns in city parks back in the Nickels and McGinn administrations. I expect a challenge of some kind to be mounted here, pretty quickly”

Under state law, the Legislature has ultimate authority when it comes to gun control. Cities and counties cannot pass firearm laws beyond what the state has passed.

“State law is very clear on this, it’s very specific,” Workman said. “The state Legislature, back in 1983 and 1985, took over sole authority for regulating firearms inside Washington state. It nullified existing gun control ordinances in cities, towns, and counties at that time. Since then, we know there have been some communities that tried to adopt gun control ordinances that were advised not to, or else they would face a legal challenge. So they backed away. Their attorneys, their legal advisers consulted state statute, and said ‘Hey, this is a non-starter. The state has control of this.’”

If a lawsuit does come against Seattle, as Workman predicts, it happen as a wave of similar regulations moves through Washington. Edmonds is considering its own safe gun storage rules, similar to Seattle’s. And Mukilteo has passed a resolution committing the city to gun control measures.

Former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna has also predicted new litigation. He told KIRO Radio that the big question to be answered is if the storage aspect will fall under Washington’s preemption statute.

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Gun rights activist to Seattle: Get ready for a lawsuit