A Washington State Appeals Court panel has unanimously held that a so-called “safe storage” ordinance adopted by the City of Edmonds and challenged by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and three private citizens violates the state’s 36-year-old model preemption law.
The ruling is a “significant victory for Evergreen State gun and privacy rights,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. The case is known as Bass v. City of Edmonds.
“Washington lawmakers wisely adopted state preemption more than 35 years ago, Gottlieb observed. “The language is clear and unambiguous. Local governments cannot adopt or enforce their own firearms regulations that are more restrictive than state statute. The City of Edmonds knew this when the council adopted the storage requirement.”
The unanimous ruling was written by Acting Chief Judge Beth Andrus, with Judges Bill Bowman and Lori Kay Smith concurring. Writing for the court, Judge Andrus explained, “We…conclude that the legislature’s express preemption of ‘the entire field of firearms regulation’ is unambiguous and necessarily extends to regulations of the storage of firearms.”
“Let’s be clear about something,” Gottlieb emphasized. “Edmonds didn’t adopt this safe storage mandate in the interest of safety, but rather to challenge and erode, if not irreparably dismantle the state preemption law. The city has no business dictating to citizens how they should store firearms in their own homes.
“State preemption is the most common sense approach to firearms regulation there is,” he added. “It provides uniformity on gun laws from one state border to the other. Whether you live in Edmonds or Ephrata, the gun laws are the same.”
SAF and NRA are currently challenging a nearly identical storage ordinance adopted by the City of Seattle prior to time Edmonds adopted its illegal ordinance. The same appellate court last year ruled the Seattle lawsuit can continue.
Where else can we use preemption to defend our Second Amendment rights? Share your answers in the comment section.
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The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 700,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
Contact: Alan Gottlieb 425.454.7012