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NRA Files Suit Against Washington State for Second Amendment Violations

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association (NRA) today filed suit against the State of Washington charging it in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution by preventing firearm ownership to non-United States citizens legally residing in the U.S.

“The actions of Washington State are denying honest, hard-working men and women equal protection under the law, as held in the U.S. Constitution," said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. “Under current law, these law-abiding residents are now subject to arrest, seizure of their firearms and possible deportation. NRA will always stand on the side of law-abiding individuals and the protection of their inherent right to self defense.”

Washington State’s law is unique in making it a felony for any non-citizen, including lawful permanent residents, to possess a firearm without having first obtained an Alien Firearms License (AFL). A license is not required for possession of a firearm in Washington State by U.S. citizens.

Further, for more than a decade, AFLs have been easy to obtain and renew by legal non-citizens. However, due to a recent change in administrative procedures, AFLs can no longer be renewed, denying lawful firearms ownership.

NRA is asking the Court to find the Alien Firearm License requirement unconstitutional.

The suit was filed in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. The Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Washington, is joining with NRA in filing the suit.

Cox concluded, “Every law abiding resident has the right to self defense. When these residents are prevented from protecting themselves or their families, the NRA deems it necessary to step in and defend this inherent freedom.”


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.