The National Rifle Association and the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) have sued the City of Edmonds over new gun-safety ordinances, the second legal challenge in a month to local efforts to to address gun violence by requiring residents to lock up their firearms.
The two gun-rights groups filed a similar lawsuit against Seattle last month.
The Edmonds City Council last month passed an ordinance that allows fines of up to $10,000 if a child or a person-at-risk has access to an unsecured firearm. Both Seattle and Edmonds passed requirements that gun owners lock up their firearms.
The NRA and SAF claim those “safe storage” requirements violate state law, which prevents cities from regulating guns.
Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the lawsuit against Seattle last month saying it would not intimidate the “fight for our kids.” When the ordinance was passed in July, the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety and the law firm Orrick LLP said they would represent the city free of charge. It’s unknown whether the two groups will also represent Edmonds.
When discussing the ordinance, Seattle city council highlighted a study that found just 36 percent of Washington state gun owners keep their weapons safely stored and unloaded. According to police, there were 250 guns stolen in Seattle last year.
Seattle has had previous showdowns with the NRA and SAF in its effort to regulate guns.
The NRA and SAF sued Seattle in 2010 and won when the city attempted to ban firearms at public parks, but lost its attempt to quash the city’s gun tax last year in the Washington state Supreme Court. The tax raised $93,000 in 2017.
The plaintiffs being represented by the NRA and SAF are two Edmonds residents with military experience, Brett Bass and Swan Seaberg. The lawsuit says they both have a “strong desire to continue having [their] firearms in an unlocked and usable state in [their] home.”
“It is clear to us that a handful of cities are trying desperately to erode Washington’s long-standing preemption law,” said Alan Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president in a statement Tuesday.
Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan are also named as defendants in the lawsuit which says the defendants are “required to enforce this regulation despite the fact that the State of Washington has fully occupied the field of firearms regulation.”
Seattle’s mayor and police chief are named as defendants in the Seattle suit.
Earling said his office has not been served. He declined to comment on the lawsuit as a matter of policy.
In the Second Amendment Foundation news release, Gottlieb said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson should have sued over the city laws but is “more interested his political agenda.”
The groups are seeking an injunction to prevent the ordinance from taking effect in January.
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