On Friday, July 20th, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and others, to invalidate the mandatory firearm storage ordinance that was recently passed by the Seattle City Council and signed by Mayor Durkan. This ordinance, which would unquestionably restrict the self-defense rights of Seattle residents by imposing a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms, was passed by the City Council in clear violation of Washington's state preemption statute.
Washington's state firearm preemption statute was passed in 1983 to keep firearm and ammunition laws consistent throughout the state by establishing that the State Legislature has full authority to regulate and create laws pertaining to firearms and ammunition. These statutes help prevent a confusing patchwork of gun control laws which make it difficult for gun owners to ensure that they are following the law. Further, Second Amendment rights are guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of where they reside. State preemption statutes help protect against the infringement of rights of citizens who live in localities controlled by anti-gun elected officials. The City of Seattle’s ordinance is exactly the type of legislation against which the state preemption statute was designed to protect.
In passing the firearm mandate storage ordinance, the City of Seattle ignored Washington's state law to further their anti-gun agenda by targeting the self-defense rights of Seattle residents.
As passed, this ordinance restricts the self-defense rights of Seattle residents by making it illegal for firearms to be kept in a private residence unless the firearms are kept in a "locked container" at all times when not being carried by the owner or other "lawfully authorized user". Additionally, it creates a separate offense for an individual that has their firearms stolen or accessed by a minor or prohibited person, even if the firearms were stored in a locked container or obtained through illegal means such as burglary or theft. A violation of this ordinance results in a fine up to a $10,000, and would be considered "per se evidence" of negligence in a civil action, even if the firearms are stolen or obtained through other illegal action.
Gun safety and storage is a matter of personal responsibility and every person’s situation is different. It is unreasonable for the law to impose a one-size-fits-all solution. This poorly thought out legislation is without any consideration for personal circumstances. It invades people’s homes and forces them to render their firearms useless in a self-defense situation by locking them up.
The ordinance would also punish victims of crimes rather than criminals by charging a $1000 fine for a failure to report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours. Individuals should not be further victimized after experiencing a burglary or other loss.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on this issue and others affecting your Second Amendment rights in Washington.