A unanimous panel of the Washington Court of Appeals this week issued a ruling that the controversial gun storage law passed by a city council doesn’t hold legal water.
The opinion of the three-judge panel, published Monday, sides with a group of gun owners and the Second Amendment organizations that backed them, holding that the City of Edmonds didn’t have the authority to pass their gun lock law. The court pointed to Washington’s 1985 preemption law, which bars local governments from adopting gun control ordinances stronger than the state’s.
“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,” said Acting Chief Judge Beth Andrus for the panel that included Judges Bill Bowman and Lori Kay Smith.
The Seattle suburb in 2018 adopted the ordinance mandating that guns be locked up under penalty of civil fines that range up to $10,000. The proposal was made in conjunction with local and national anti-gun groups who supported its passage. It saw immediate legal challenges from local gun owners Brett Bass and Swan Seaberg, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation.
“Let’s be clear about something,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “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.”
The organization, along with the NRA, is also in court challenging a nearly identical storage ordinance adopted by the City of Seattle.
As for Edmonds, the city is weighing its options on further appeals.
“We’re looking at (the ruling) and what we’re going to do next,” said Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, a member of the City Council. “Any time you lose in court it is a disappointment.”