BELLEVUE, WA – The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling that upholds Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” shows that elections – especially those for state Supreme Court justices – matters now more than ever, the Second Amendment Foundation said.
“The high court’s decision to uphold what clearly appears to us as a violation of Washington’s 34-year-old State Preemption Act is proof positive that the court places political correctness above the rule of law,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Gun owners must get more involved in Supreme Court races.”
SAF, along with the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, was a plaintiff in the case, known as Watson v. City of Seattle. These organizations, along with two local firearms retailers, challenged the legality of the “gun violence tax” under the preemption law.
“This isn’t just a loss for the rule of law, firearms dealers and gun owners living in Seattle,” Gottlieb said. “It’s a slap in the face to the Washington Legislature. In 1983, state lawmakers adopted the state’s preemption act, which squarely put all firearms regulation under authority of the Legislature. It is clear from this ruling that the Legislature will have to strengthen the preemption act to not only nullify what amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax on gun owners, but to also make sure this is not allowed to happen again.”
Under the 1983 law, “The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law… and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”