Second Amendment Foundation
12500 NE Tenth Place • Bellevue, WA 98005www.saf.org
(425) 454-7012 • FAX (425) 451-3959 •
SAF, NRA SUE WASHINGTON STATE FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ALIEN RESIDENTS
For Immediate Release: 11/4/2008
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation, joined by the National Rifle Association, today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the State of Washington, seeking to overturn a state law that discriminates against legal resident aliens who own firearms by violating their Second Amendment rights under the equal protections affirmed by the 14th Amendment.
The SAF/NRA suit is joined by three legal resident aliens who face loss of jobs and firearms collections, and possible prosecution for owning a gun for self-defense when their current Alien Firearms Licenses (AFL) expire. Under a statute unique to Washington State, aliens must possess an AFL to legally possess firearms.
Also named in the lawsuit are Liz Luce, director of the State Department of Licensing and Paul D. Ayers, chief of police in Issaquah, WA where two of the resident plaintiffs live. Ayers is a defendant for not issuing concealed pistol licenses (CPL) to plaintiffs Roelof Kroes, a South African national, and Adrian Coombes, a British citizen. The other plaintiff is Philip Grady, also a British national and a resident of Everett.
“Gun rights activists have been trying for three years to work with the Democrat-controlled State Legislature to repeal this discriminatory statute,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “State lawmakers have ignored those efforts, leaving SAF and NRA, and our fellow plaintiffs, no other recourse except the federal court.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Seattle attorney Carl J. Carlson and Fairfax, VA attorney Stephen Halbrook represent the plaintiffs.
“Mr. Coombes is employed at a gun shop in Bellevue, and he stands to lose his job and his personal firearms when his current AFL expires in February 2009,” Gottlieb stated. “Mr. Kroes moved to Issaquah in 2005 and was able to secure an AFL and CPL, but that is no longer possible because, while the FBI does background checks for gun purchases and CPL applications, it will not share that information with the state licensing department, which issues the AFL. It’s a ‘Catch-22’ that threatens the civil rights of alien residents whose only crime has been to choose living in the United States.
“Forty-nine other states feel no compulsion to require such alien licenses,” Gottlieb stated. “Washington State should be no different. This discriminatory law must not be allowed to stand.”