BELLEVUE, WA – Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is asserting that he has the authority to skirt Washington State’s long-standing firearms preemption statute, but in a 2006 letter to House Speaker Frank Chopp, he admitted that state law prevents him from taking any such action.

The letter is being made public at tonight’s special hearing at City Hall by Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.

In his letter to Speaker Chopp, dated May 4, 2006, Mayor Nickels acknowledged that “State law preempts any and all local regulations related to firearms. Our hands are tied at the local level and we are unable to adopt any local laws to protect our residents from gun crime.”

“This is what Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office told Mayor Nickels in October,” Gottlieb noted. “Despite all of his bluster over the past six months, it is evident now that Mayor Nickels has known all along he cannot ban legally-carried firearms, by executive order, by ordinance or by wishing upon a star. He knew this in 2006 and he was reminded of it two months ago by McKenna’s office.

“Mayor Nickels has tried to capitalize on a single unfortunate incident at the Seattle Center,” he continued, “in order to push his long-standing anti-rights agenda. More than 20 years ago, the state legislature wisely enacted our common-sense preemption law that is now preventing the mayor from acting like a monarch, answerable to nobody. Essentially, he wants to use executive authority as though it were a royal decree, to not only defy state statute, but also to violate our state constitutional right-to-bear-arms provision.

“The May 2006 letter to Speaker Chopp clearly proves that the mayor knows he cannot legally do this,” Gottlieb said. “If Mayor Nickels goes forward with this ban, he will leave the Second Amendment Foundation no alternative than to take immediate legal action to stop him.”