Seattle Gun Ban Lawsuit Could Have National Implications

The lawsuit, filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors and five individual citizens, was filed in King County Superior Court.

Washington’s preemption statute is solid and there is not a lot of wiggle room for misunderstanding its intent. The statute, RCW 9.41.290 reads, in part: “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…

”Nickels has said that a municipal-property owner such as Seattle may impose limits on firearms as a condition of entry or use of particular facilities, particularly those where children and other young people are likely to be. State Attorney General Rob McKenna, however, has disagreed, saying his office issued an opinion in 2008 which found that state law pre-empts local authority to adopt firearms regulations, unless specifically authorized by law. — Seattle Times

Stepping in to defend Nickels and the city in this confrontation at no charge is the Northwest office of an international law firm, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

This firm, according to its website, has 21 offices in Asia, Europe and North America. It has a history of providing pro bono legal representation to various causes. Plaintiffs are represented by Seattle attorney Steve Fogg with the Seattle law firm of Corr, Cronin, Michelson, Baumgardner & Preece LLC.

According to their website, the firm has been recognized for its litigation abilities. So how does this case have possible national implications? If Seattle’s creative approach as a private property owner simply regulating conduct on its park properties is allowed to stand (that strategy failed in Ohio, where a parks ban imposed by the City of Clyde was struck down by that state’s Supreme Court), it is conceivable that other cities in other states, or even in the Evergreen State, will start pushing the envelope.

I wrote about the Clyde case in this column. Judging from public comments in both the Seattle Times and the on-line Seattle Post-Intelligencer about this case, sentiment remains high against the out-going Nickels and his gun ban.

The legal issues will be hashed out in the courts. The city is arguing that its “most important public duty is to protect its citizens from harm, especially when they are visiting City facilities.” Here’s a novel idea: How about simply leaving it possible for the citizens to protect themselves? Read more

Source: Seattle Gun Rights Examiner

COMMENT