WA Attorney General sues Federal Way gun store for illegal sales

Dec 7, 2022, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:07 pm
CEO of "Shelter in Place" Jim Haslem, loads magazines to an AK-47 (L) and an AR-15 (R) assault rifle to prepare and test one of their bullet resistant shelters on October 25, 2018 in Cedar City, Utah. Shelter in Place was started five years ago after the Sandy hook shooting to develop a bullet and storm resistant shelters for schools and other places such as business to protect against active shooters and natural deserters such as tornados and earthquakes. This production will go into shelters to be installed at a school in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

A gun retailer in Federal Way is the subject of a lawsuit from Attorney General Bob Ferguson after an investigation found that the owner was illegally selling high-capacity magazines despite state bans.

The store and its owner allegedly sold high-capacity magazines, which became illegal in Washington state this year due to legislation supported by Ferguson himself.

Trial date set for late 2023 over large capacity magazine ban in Washington state

The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation sued the state over the ban, citing 2nd and 14th amendment violations in its claim that the ban is unconstitutional and questions what the plaintiffs contend is an arbitrary number of ten rounds.

The sale of ammunition magazines with more than ten rounds was banned in Washington state July 1.

Federal Way Discount Guns was hit with the lawsuit after state investigators looked into 25 firearms dealers across Washington posing as prospective buyers. The investigators visited the store four times between August and November, and each time they made an illegal purchase, the clerk destroyed the record of the sale or made a comment to the investigator suggesting that they knew the sale was illegal.

In one instance, a sales clerk told an investigator that “it’s the nature of the beast” but that he couldn’t provide a receipt because the magazines held “more than ten rounds.” The sales clerk then crumpled up the sales receipt that was automatically generated from the cash register and threw it in the garbage.

The owner of Federal Way Discount Guns, Mohammed Reza Baghai, is facing a $7,500 fine for every high-capacity magazine sold and an additional $7,500 for every magazine offered for sale if the court finds them in violation.

Baghai personally sold a 30-round magazine for an AR-15 style rifle and a 33-round magazine for a Glock 17 pistol to the investigator and threw the store copy of the receipt into the garbage.

“Our sweep confirmed that the overwhelming majority of gun retailers in Washington are doing the right thing and complying with the law,” Ferguson said. “In contrast, Federal Way Discount Guns chose to violate a law that makes our communities safer. We will continue to proactively enforce this law, and take action against anyone who illegally sells high-capacity magazines.”

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A preliminary injunction is being filed by the Attorney General’s Office to stop the store from selling any more high-capacity magazines and require the store to destroy or return any remaining magazines. In order to grant the state’s request, the judge must find that Ferguson is likely to prevail in his case against the store.

The lawsuit filed by the Attorney General looks to permanently block the store from selling high-capacity magazines, require the store to destroy its high-capacity magazine inventory or return them to the manufacturers, forfeit all profits it made from unlawfully selling high-capacity magazines, and to pay penalties under the Consumer Protection Act — up to $7,500 per violation.

Follow Sam Campbell on Twitter or email him here

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WA Attorney General sues Federal Way gun store for illegal sales