NRA and SAF Sue Edmonds, WA Over New Storage Law

State Preemption should make this law a non-starter, but don't tell city officials that.

Published Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The current gun law trend in Washington state is toward safe storage laws, but state preemption precludes municipalities from passing their own gun control legislation ordinances. This showdown was inevitable, and the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation were prepared for it.

The new ordinance in Edmonds requires that all firearms be secured and rendered useless to all but the gun's owner or someone with permission to use it. Personally carrying the gun is a valid exemption, but under the language of this law all firearms not carried on the body need to be locked up at all times. Many gun owners are unhappy about this verbage, as carrying the firearm 24/7 is burdensome, and locking up the firearm usually means that the owner can't access it in time when they really need it.

If a non-authorized person obtains control over the gun even momentarily, the owner would likely be looking at a fine of up to $1000 as well as being open to civil liability, and additional fines and liability if the unauthorized user causes harm to another person or commits a crime with it. The city says that any fines collected under this law will go toward a fund to buy safes or locks for other gun owners.

This ordinance passed on July 24th by a 5 to 1 vote and it takes effect this month, although enforcement won't begin until January 2019. It is almost verbatim the same as the safe storage law passed by Seattle on July 18th. We've already discussed Everett's new law.

The NRA and SAF filed a similar lawsuit against Seattle last month and the city’s response should come no later than August 30th, according to court documents.