BELLEVUE, WA – Responding quickly to the adoption of House Bill 1240 by the Washington Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee signing it into law, the Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new statute on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, and is asking the court for preliminary and permanent injunctions.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The case is known as Hartford v. Ferguson. Joining SAF are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Sporting Systems, a Hazel Dell retailer, and three private citizens, Brett Bass, Douglas Mitchell and Lawrence Hartford, for whom the case is named. They are represented by Seattle attorney Joel Ard.
Named as defendants are Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste, Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese and County Prosecutor Chad M. Enright; Kittitas County Sheriff Clayton Myers and County Prosecutor Greg Zempel; Clark County Sheriff John Horch and County Prosecutor Tony Golik, and Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortnoy and County Prosecutor Jason Cummings, all in their official capacities.
“The State has enacted a flat prohibition on the manufacture, sale, import and distribution of many types of firearms, inaccurately labeled as ‘assault weapons,’ which are owned by millions of ordinary citizens across the country,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “In the process, the state has criminalized a common and important means of self-defense, the modern semiautomatic rifle. The state has put politics ahead of constitutional rights, and is penalizing law-abiding citizens while this legislation does nothing to arrest and prosecute criminals who misuse firearms in defiance of all existing gun control laws. It is absurd.”
He noted that SAF already has two legal actions in progress, challenging Washington gun laws. One lawsuit concerns the magazine ban and the other challenges the ban on sales of semiautomatic rifles to young adults.
“The hysteria manufactured by the authors and supporters of this legislation is rivaled only by the false characterization of the banned firearms as ‘weapons of war,’” SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, added. “As we note in our complaint, the firearms that Washington bans as ‘assault weapons’ are, in all respects, ordinary semiautomatic rifles. To the extent they are different from other semiautomatic rifles, their distinguishing features make them safer and easier to use. But even if they are considered as a separate group of ‘assault weapons,’ they cannot be banned because they are not dangerous and unusual.
“We will take this case to the highest court in the land, if necessary,” Kraut added. “This sort of legislative demagoguery cannot be allowed to stand.”