Lawsuit over Seattle’s responsible gun storage law thrown out by judge
A lawsuit filed by the NRA to fight an ordinance requiring gun owners to secure their firearms in a locked container was dismissed by the King County Superior Court on Friday.
The city passed the ordinance in July, and saw a quick challenge by pro-gun advocates in court.
“As we take urgent action to save lives, our courts have sided with Seattle over the NRA,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in response to the dismissal. “We will continue to work with our partners to stop irresponsible legal challenges to this commonsense, life-saving measure.”
“It seems the NRA jumped the gun in filing their lawsuit against this eminently reasonable legislation meant to protect children and the vulnerable,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
The suit was thrown out by Judge Barbara Linde, citing a lack of standing on the part of plaintiffs. Because of that, whether the safe gun storage law violates Washington State law remains undetermined in a court of law.
An appeal could very well be on the docket from the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, one of the plaintiffs in the recently-dismissed case alongside the NRA.
“It is frustrating when judges refuse to address the merits of a case and duck by saying the law is not yet in effect and that the plaintiffs have not proven they’ll be arrested if they violate the law,” said Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb. “We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”
Under Seattle’s laws, improper gun storage brings a $500 fine, $1,000 for a minor accessing an improperly stored gun, and $10,000 if someone commits a crime with the gun.
Safe storage for firearms is defined as:
(1) A safe, gun safe, gun case, gun cabinet, or lock box that is
(a) designed to fully contain firearms and prevent removal of, and access to, the enclosed
(b) Is capable of repeated use;
(c) May be opened only by a numerical combination consisting of the entry of at least three
variables entered in a specific sequence on a keypad, dial or tumbler device; key,
magnetic key, or electronic key; or by biometric identification; and
(d) Be constructed with such quality of workmanship and material that it may not be easily
pried open, removed, or otherwise defeated by the use of common tools.
Moving forward, Washington voters will vote on sweeping gun control measures this November, in the form of Initiative I-1639.