The National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation filed a suit against a second city in Washington State this week.
In the lawsuit, the gun-rights groups claimed that the city of Edmonds, Wash., violated the state’s preemption law by passing their own ordinance requiring gun owners to store their firearms so that they are locked and inaccessible when the owner isn’t actively carrying or using them. The plaintiffs claimed that the city’s ordinance could hamper residents’ ability to defend themselves and their homes. The gun-rights groups said that when the ordinance goes into effect on August 23, 2018, their members as well as the two local residents who signed on to the suit could face up to $10,000 in fines per infraction.
The NRA said it opposed the ordinance and believes it is illegal.
“No other organization does more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms. The bulk of NRA’s budget is dedicated to firearm safety and training,” Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon. “The NRA opposes this poorly thought out legislation that will make people less safe in their own homes. The ordinance is a one-size fits all approach that invades people’s homes and forces them to render their firearms useless in self-defense situations. In addition to restricting the self-defense rights of Edmond residents, the ordinance is in clear violation of Washington’s state preemption statute.”
Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder, said Edmonds following Seattle’s lead in attempting to enact their own firearms laws represents a continued effort to undermine Washington law, which states all firearms regulation is to be handled at the state level. He said Washington-based SAF and the NRA have now filed cases against both Seattle and Edmonds in order to prevent gun regulations in the state from becoming a confusing patchwork.
“It is clear to us that a handful of cities are trying desperately to erode Washington’s long-standing preemption law,” he said. “Their goal is to discourage citizens from exercising their rights under the state and federal constitutions by financial intimidation. The city council clearly understands preemption, but went ahead with this ordinance, anyway, undoubtedly knowing it would be overturned by the court. It seems as though their ultimate goal is to convince voters that gun law uniformity is somehow a bad idea, so it should be changed.”
He said the state’s preemption law has been working effectively and the groups would continue to make sure it is enforced.
“They would like to take Washington back decades to a time when citizens had to contend with confusing and conflicting local ordinances and regulations,” Gottlieb said. “Preemption was adopted to eliminate that mess and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The law has worked for more than three decades. It doesn’t need fixing.”
Edmonds mayor Dave Earling did not immediately respond to a request for comment.