The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association on Tuesday sued the City of Edmonds for its adoption of a firearms storage law.
The two organizations say that the measure, approved July 24, violates the state’s 35-year-old preemption statute. The groups filed a similar lawsuit against the City of Seattle last month.
Joining in the legal action are two Edmonds residents, Brett Bass and Swan Seaberg. Named as defendants are the City of Edmonds, Mayor Dave Earling and Police Chief Al Compaan. Plaintiffs are represented by Seattle attorney Steven Fogg, at Corr Cronin LLP.
Under the newly-passed ordinance, which had been proposed by Council President Mike Nelson, those failing to secure their firearms could face a civil infraction of up to $500. If a child or other prohibited person gains access to a firearm that should have been secured, the violator can be fined up to $1,000. If someone is hurt as a result of that person gaining access, the fine increases to up to $10,000.
According to a news release announcing the lawsuit, under Washington law, the State Legislature has exclusive authority for all firearms regulation, including “registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.”
“It is clear to us that a handful of cities are trying desperately to erode Washington’s long-standing preemption law,” said Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “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.
Gottlieb said such a legal action should have been undertaken by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Unfortunately, he is more interested his political agenda and attacking people on his political enemies list, so the constitutional rights of Washington citizens come last,” he said.