Washington Supreme Court rules against Edmonds gun storage law

Apr 21, 2022, 11:58 AM
gun safes, Edmonds gun storage, guns...
Gun safes by Safe Tracker, based in Tukwila. (Heather Bosch, KIRO Radio)
(Heather Bosch, KIRO Radio)

The Supreme Court of Washington ruled against an Edmonds gun storage ordinance on Thursday, affirming a Court of Appeals decision which had labeled it unconstitutional.

Washington’s preemption law bars cities and counties from enacting tougher gun laws than the state. The Edmonds ordinance requires gun owners to lock up their weapons in safes or secured boxes, while levying civil fines in situations where a child gets hold of an improperly stored firearm and uses it. Under the law, if someone gets access to an owner’s gun and uses it to commit a crime, the owner could be fined up to $10,000.

Seattle politician aims to take safe gun storage law national

The state’s requirements — as laid out in the I-1639 ballot initiative approved by voters in 2019 — make it so that a gun owner who improperly stores their firearm can be charged with a gross misdemeanor if someone else uses it to “intimate someone” or commit a crime, but it does not lay out restrictions regarding children.

Thursday’s ruling remands the case regarding the Edmonds ordinance back to trial court, with plaintiffs lauding it as a victory for gun rights.

“This should send a signal to other municipal governments — especially the City of Seattle against which we have a nearly identical pending lawsuit — that they cannot enact their own gun restrictions in violation of state law or the state constitution,” the Second Amendment Foundation told KIRO Newsradio.

A similar law in Seattle is also being challenged, but has yet to be ruled on. Because state Supreme Court decisions are not binding in other jurisdictions, that case will have to be resolved for Seattle to get clarity on whether its own ordinance can remain in place.

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Washington Supreme Court rules against Edmonds gun storage law