BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association this week have won a preliminary injunction against the Washington State Department of Licensing that requires the state to resume processing applications by legal resident aliens for alien firearms licenses.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle also ordered that license renewals and applications sought by three individual Washington residents participating in the lawsuit also be processed. Washington is the only state in the union that requires an alien firearms license be possessed by resident aliens in order for them to have a firearm. SAF and NRA said the state law discriminates against legal resident aliens who own firearms by violating their Second Amendment rights under the equal protections affirmed by the 14th Amendment.
“We are delighted that the court has ordered a resumption of the licensing procedure, which was suspended by the state over what amounts to bureaucratic red tape,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “The State Legislature has had ample opportunity to fix what amounts to a glitch in a law that should never have existed in the first place. The people affected by the alien firearms license requirement are residents here; they are part of our community and have abided by the law.
“One of the plaintiffs works in a Bellevue gun store,” he continued. “Without a renewal of his firearms license, he would not simply lose his firearms, he would lose his job.”
The state stopped processing applications and renewals of alien firearms licenses because of a problem in running background checks. The result was that many resident aliens who had previously been issued licenses, and now possess firearms for sport, hunting and personal protection, could not get those licenses renewed. Upon expiration, these people would become “criminals on paper,” Gottlieb said, because they would be in possession of firearms without the license.
“Once again, as has happened in New Orleans, San Francisco and elsewhere, teamwork between SAF and the NRA has paid off in a sensible solution to a problem that should not exist,” Gottlieb stated. “We are confident in a final judgment and we hope this sends a signal to the Washington Legislature to fix this problem.”