Another judge sides with Washington on upholding gun control legislation

Sep 26, 2023, 8:04 AM | Updated: 9:04 am

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2012, file photo, a variety of military-style semi-automatic rifles obtaine...

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2012, file photo, a variety of military-style semi-automatic rifles obtained during a buy back program are displayed at Los Angeles police headquarters. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned two lower court judges and upheld California’s ban on high-capacity magazines Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in a split decision that may be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

For the fourth time in less than four months, a federal judge sided with Washington state, ruling to reject another attempt to block a new law regulating firearms.

A Yakima judge rejected a lawsuit filed by the Silent Majority Foundation that looked to block the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines. The state legislature passed the ban in 2022 after Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested it and the law bans the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary K. Dimke denied the Silent Majority’s injunction, saying that the challenge failed to establish that the Second Amendment applies to the regulation of high-capacity magazines.

“ESSB 5078 is the product of the democratically elected Washington legislature. If the Court is to declare ESSB 5078 unconstitutional, it will not do so lightly. Injunctive relief is ‘an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief,” Dimke said in the ruling.

Thirteen states, including Washington and the District of Columbia, all restrict high-capacity magazines. Multiple other federal courts have upheld laws limiting magazine capacity. In July, a federal judge in Oregon upheld that state’s new law, passed just after Washington’s restrictions on gun magazines.

“Washington state is undefeated in court against challenges to Washington’s common-sense firearm safety laws. My office wrote this law. It is constitutional. It will save lives. I look forward to continuing to successfully defend it,” Ferguson wrote about Monday’s ruling.

Earlier this month, Judge Allyson Zipp with the Thurston County Superior Court reviewed the case of Guardian Arms v. Inslee and rejected a request for a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of House Bill 1240 — the legislation barring automatic weapon sales. Zipp also rejected a similar motion for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked the law in the same case on June 23.

More from Bob Ferguson: Washington AG files brief challenging Idaho’s abortion travel ban

On June 6, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan also rejected a request to block the law in a separate case, Hartford, et al. v. Ferguson, et al., the Office of the Attorney General notes in a press release.

The law went into effect immediately after Gov. Jay Inslee signed it April 25, with legal challenges beginning the same day.

Ferguson first proposed a ban on the sale of assault weapons in 2017 following the 2016 mass shooting in Mukilteo — where three people were killed when a gunman used a military-style assault rifle and a high-capacity magazine and opened fire at a house party.

The 2023 legislative session was the second time Inslee joined Ferguson to call for a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

More on Gov. Inslee supporting assault weapon ban in Jan. 2023: String of state gun laws heard by House Judiciary Committee

Washington is the 10th state to adopt legislation restricting assault weapons, joining California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Washington’s new law prohibits the sale, manufacture and import of assault weapons within the state. Some exemptions are allowed, like manufacturing and selling assault weapons to law enforcement and military. The law does not prohibit the possession of assault weapons.

This is the seventh victory for the Office of the Attorney General in court cases battling the state’s gun lobby.

Contributing: Frank Sumrall

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Another judge sides with Washington on upholding gun control legislation