The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and two Seattle residents have filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle over its recently passed legislation requiring the safe storage of firearms within the city limits. Also included as defendants in the lawsuit are Mayor Jenny Durkan, the Seattle Police Department, and Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best.
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Last week, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed gun safety legislation that would make it a civil infraction and impose fines on individuals who do not store their firearms properly. The newly-filed lawsuit argues that this ordinance is unenforceable based off a state law that prohibits municipalities from regulating the possession of firearms.
“The City of Seattle has been trying to erode state preemption almost from the moment it was passed back in 1985,” said SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a statement. “When the city tried to ban guns from city parks facilities under former mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn, SAF and NRA joined forces with other organizations to stop it, under the state preemption statute. We should not have to repeatedly remind Seattle that they are still part of Washington State and must obey the law.”
Prior to the passage of the legislation, the threat of state preemption was discussed by the city council. However, Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez told the council that she believed the legislation would not be impacted by preemption, saying,
“We believe we are on good footing to defend this in a lawsuit based on preemption, [because the legislation] does not regulate what a person does with a gun on their person, but how it is kept.”
In response to the lawsuit, Durkan tweeted,
“We are taking urgent action to save lives, and the NRA and SAF want to stop it. We will prevail and will continue to push for more protection for our children and community. While they go to court – kids go to the hospital.”
Everytown for Gun Safety’s litigation team, along with Orrick LLP, have already pledged to represent the City of Seattle pro bono for any litigation resulting from the new ordinance.