BELLEVUE, WA – A Snohomish County, WA Superior Court judge has ruled that a 2018-passed ordinance in the City of Edmonds requiring so-called “safe storage” of firearms “impermissibly regulates firearms in violation” of Washington’s 36-year-old preemption law, in a lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
SAF and NRA are joined by three private citizens, Brett Bass, Curtis McCullough and Swan Seaberg.
Judge Anita Farris handed down the ruling, possibly setting the stage for a state Supreme Court showdown. In a separate case, filed by SAF and NRA against the City of Seattle in neighboring King County, a different judge ruled the opposite. That case is now before the State Court of Appeals.
“We’re encouraged by the judge’s ruling,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Judge Farris’ ruling confirms what we’ve argued all along, that under the state preemption law, first adopted in 1983 and strengthened in 1985, the Legislature has sole authority over firearms regulation in the state.”
The preemption statute is designed to create statewide uniformity in firearms regulation, he noted. Allowing municipalities to chip away at the law by adding a storage requirement simply cannot be permissible, he added.
The judge denied the city’s request in the SAF/NRA summary judgment victory to stay the decision until it can be appealed. Gottlieb noted that Judge Farris was having none of it. The judge explained that part of the “stay test” requires showing a reasonable probability of success on the merits, and she saw no possibility of success for the city on appeal. She described it as “not a close call.”
“Michael Bloomberg’s gun control lobbying group has been supporting similar restrictive local laws all over the country,” Gottlieb stated. “This victory will help stop this across the country. Preemption uniformity was a good idea in the 1980s and it is still the most commonsense way to deal with firearms regulation,” Gottlieb observed. “What is the law in one part of a state should be the law in all parts of that state.”
Under the judge’s order, pending appeal, a permanent injunction will take effect against the Edmonds storage ordinance, and if an appeal is unsuccessful, that requirement must be repealed.
Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Stephen Fogg and Eric Lindbergh with Corr Cronin LLP of Seattle.