Updated: City Council accepts pro bono defense offer for Edmonds gun storage lawsuit

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In other council business Tuesday night, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, right, proclaimed September as National Senior Center Month. Receiving the proclamation was Edmonds Senior Center Executive Director Farrell Fleming, left.

Updated Sept. 14 with information from an Everytown for Gun Safety news release.

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved an offer by two law firms to provide pro bono defense of the city’s recently passed gun storage ordinance.

The firms involved are the litigation team for Everytown for Gun Safety and Summit Law Group of Seattle.

Under the City of Edmonds ordinance approved July 24, 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.

The City of Edmonds was served with a complaint Aug. 13 alleging that the ordinance violates the state’s 35-year-old preemption statute. A similar lawsuit was filed earlier this summer against the City of Seattle, which also passed a measure requiring safe gun storage.

Everytown for Gun Safety announced in July that it would provide pro bono legal defense services for the City of Seattle.

Approval of the pro bono work for the City of Edmonds originally showed up on the council’s consent agenda, but Councilmember Neil Tibbott pulled the matter for discussion so he could ask City Attorney Jeff Taraday for additional details.

“These two law firms have agreed to collectively represent the city on a pro bono basis,” Taraday replied. While Taraday said he will be working in conjunction with them, he expects the two firms to “probably take the laboring oars with respect to the litigation.”

Neither organization will charge the city for its attorney fees, but will charge for expenses and other costs. “Litigation comes with all sorts of costs that one would incur in any case,”Taraday said. “The city has been sued. Some defense will be necessary.”

The city would be “on the hook” for those costs regardless of which firm did the work related to the lawsuit, he said.

In a news release issued Sept. 14 by Everytown for Gun Safety, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said the City of Edmonds “is pleased to have the support of Everytown for Gun Safety and Summit Law Group.”

Added City Council President Mike Nelson: “I appreciate Everytown for Gun Safety and Summit Law Group stepping up to help defend Edmonds against the NRA’s lawsuit. It is unfortunate that a common sense law requiring storing firearms so children cannot access them is being challenged in court. We all have a responsibility to prevent gun violence.”
— By Teresa Wippel

36 Replies to “Updated: City Council accepts pro bono defense offer for Edmonds gun storage lawsuit”

  1. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…

    I was told, in an e-mail on August 10th, from councilmember Monillas:

    Mr. Clem,
    I see you have a concern with cost of our defense. No worries, our attorneys charge a flat rate per year.
    Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

    This was meant to justify the council breaking the law. Are all of our council-members this uninformed?

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    1. David, I remember when you posted her response to you in the original articles comment section…..thought of you immediately when I saw this.

      Farley-Colinas is the only council member I’ve personally communicated with (Nelson responds to nothing of course) and I can assure you, she IS that uninformed.

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  2. Any and all expense could have been avoided if Mike Nelson and our out of control council had any respect for state law. Can’t wait to vote each and every one of these lawless zealots out of office…Earling as well. They are all a complete disgrace to this city.

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    1. Jeff. You won’t be able to vote them out of office. The Edmonds City Council is a farm-team for higher offices. Any of them that are vulnerable to anyone conservative will be appointed to state house or some administration position and another far-left name will run in their place. Nelson’s emails where a bit funny in that he came off as a bit of a lapdog trying to jump into Seattle’s lap but was pushed off. Good doggy, but “no love”.

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    1. Roger, I don’t know how old you are but I’ve been a life member of the NRA since the 70’s. There’s always been some democrat that was trying to disrupt gun sports.

      First it was the challenges to hunting, then came the attack on gun clubs and now the very 2nd Amendment is at stake. Liberals are trying to ban whole classes of legal guns. There has always been a need for someone to defend the right to keep and bear arms. Otherwise our rights would have long ago been frittered away. MAGA

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  3. Safe, secure storage of firearms is just common sense. I’ve had numerous police officers tell me that many of the firearms they take from criminals have been stolen — from legit gun owners who fail to keep them secured.

    I’m old enough to remember when the NRA was primarily a gun safety and sportsmanship organization. I can’t understand the noise today in opposition to safe storage of firearms. It just doesn’t make sense. We should all be working to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys (not to mention children and the mentally troubled).

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    1. Roger, everyone is for safe storage of guns. I don’t think people are failing to see the veil in what is a veiled attempt to be nonpartisan. It’s dishonest. We all believe in safe abortions, and Rick Perry really dealt a blow to Planned Parenthood by regulating clinics in the same way the state regulated the rest of healthcare (why not?). Rick Perry was unapologetic that his common sense regulation, making Planned Parenthood follow the same regulations as hospitals for the safety of patients, was designed to be punitive to people attempting to exercise their rights. These stunts are specifically designed to be divisive.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/us/supreme-court-texas-abortion.html

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    2. Roger, you’re correct. The NRA started out as a hunting organization to teach civil war vets how to hunt and provide for their families. In the last 40 or so years, it has morphed into something quite sinister, mostly attached to the gun lobby and using fear mongering (the answer to gun violence is MORE Guns! Or they’re going to take your YOUR GUNS!) to increase sales. It’s too bad they couldn’t have stuck to the original cause.

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  4. Sadly, most gun owners do not store their guns safely, which is how they fall into the wrong hands. If this ordinance succeeds it will undoubtedly save lives and injuries. A few dollars in legal fees are well worth it.

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    1. Based upon what knowledge or research do you make such a bold and sweeping statement? Your statement is rather an assumption, based on a perception that is jaded by what I’m guessing is your left-leaning belief that all gun owners are somehow inherently irresponsible.
      But what’s really aggravating is that such laws fail to recognize that If a criminal breaks into someone’s house with an intent to steal firearms, there’s a high probability they’ll go straight for the safe. And if no one is home, any affordable consumer safe can be defeated in minutes. So half of the justification (anti-theft) is bogus. The other half (child safety) IS paramount to responsible gun ownership, but should be the individual’s right to determine the best solution for their situation.

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      1. I’m a firm 2nd ammendment supporter and enjoy my many various firearms. That being said, I have a safe to house all of my firearms and strongly believe that every gun owner should.
        I know far too many gun owners that rely on a closet or mattress to store their guns and as much as I believe they should have them, I believe just as much that they should store them securely. There is no argument that criminals B&E to steal firearms but what is known is that when they do break in and come across unsecured firearms, they do not leave them behind. I’m tired of defending my position as a responsible gun owner every time an irresponsible gun owner leaves his gun under his pillow and his 5 year old shoots his little brother. The “Well I keep mine in a safe” defense does nothing to win the argument when arguing with a gun grabbing liberal retard.

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      1. Agree. Usually the “wrong hands” buy them for themselves. The presumption of innocence a basis of our entire society.

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  5. They break into your house while you’re gone.

    They destroy the walls and floors to get the safe out so they can steal the guns and valuables in it.

    Edmonds then says you didn’t properly secure your firearms.

    You should have had three feet of concrete around it, sharks with lasers, five 150 lb pit bulls, electric eels, or something equally ridiculous.

    You are charged with “improper storage.”

    That is EXACTLY what will happen.

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  6. Safe storage laws are feel good laws. If written law actually worked, there would only be one: “all criminals must turn themselves in to local law enforcement within 24 hours of their crime”

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  7. Safe storage laws were declared Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 2008 Heller decision. Look it up, its the third element of the decision.
    This is all a waste of time and a waste of taxpayer money to fight. The precdent has been established.
    It’s “settled law of the land”.

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  8. This law violates state firearms preemption….it is illegal.

    It will be overturned and the taxpayers will be stuck with the legal fees. For the pro-rights lawyers too.

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  9. I applaud the Edmonds city council and the mayor for their courageous support of this proposal. The proposal is simply common sense and will save lives and/or firearm-related injuries. Further, a majority of citizens, both locally and nationally, support similar common sense measures. A good local summary of why passing this ordinance makes sense can be read here:
    https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/editorial-safe-storage-laws-can-limit-kids-deaths-injuries/

    With regard to common-sense actions to reduce gun-related tragedies, there will always be nay-sayers who offer knee-jerk reactions to any attempt to reduce the epidemic (and yes, it is an epidemic) of gun violence in our country and our communities. These arguments often rely on myopic, outdated, or simply uninformed viewpoints.

    One of these myopic viewpoints involves the out-of-sight, out-of-mind phenomenon. If you haven’t seen gun violence, or been a victim of it, well then – no reason to take any action, right? Wrong. Gun violence happens in every community. For every “responsible” gun owner there are many who aren’t. Unfortunately, many people are ignorant of the true toll of gun violence in our communities and our country.

    Another favored argument is the “it’s against the law” position. Laws by nature are often inherently vague and subject to interpretation – thus the need for courts and attorneys. This argument also conveniently attempts to preempt any further discussion on the topic – no need to seriously consider the merits of a proposed ordinance if you can just nip it in the bud by saying it’s “illegal.”

    My favorite canard is “I need to have access to my firearm for self-defense,” or “I need it for protection against the government” or some such argument. Statistically speaking, most gun-owners will never use a weapon for self-defense. The truth is, based on the best available evidence, that having a gun in your home puts you and your family at significantly higher risk of a gun-related tragic event.

    This really isn’t some commie-inspired plot. Thanks to the mayor and city council for taking bold action on this issue.

    For more information on gun violence, see the link to the Brady center that I’ve attached. http://www.bradycampaign.org/about-gun-violence

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    1. Why is violence in all categories falling during this epedemic? – at the same time there is record firearm ownership?

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    2. I can always spot one of these fact burying comments a mile a way.

      They always like to include lines like “common sense” and “the majority of citizens” in them.
      Well, when you build the questions the way a lot of these “surveys” do, it’s no wonder that they get the answers that they want.

      I mean, “it’s for the children! How COULD you say that you won’t support something “For the Children!!” “If it saves only ONE LIFE!!”
      /sarcasm off

      Well, what if it then what you did actually winds up costing 20 lives?

      Perhaps 20 lives that could have been saved if one person who was trained and armed was in a position to stop an assailant?

      And, as far as the “Gun in the Home..” line above, statistically speaking, you’re wrong.

      The Brady Gun Grabbing Bunch is notorious for putting forth skewed statistics, along with just about every other anti-gun group you can think of. They like to bury the fact that a lot of those “homes” had people in them that were involved in various, shall we say, “criminal enterprises?”

      The CDC ran a study during the Obama years, and the purpose was to discredit the studies done by Gary Kleck, John Lott, (and others,) whose research estimated that there were anywhere between 150,000 and 2.5 million Defensive Gun Uses per year, most without a shot being fired.

      Care to take a guess how deep that study got buried? Deep enough that it just is now coming to light years later.

      Why?

      Because it supported the results that Kleck, Lott, et al came up with, and totally trashes the garbage put forth by supposed “studies” from which Brady is using to come up with the “having a gun in your home puts you and your family at significantly higher risk of a gun-related tragic event.”

      This reminds me of a story that was in the news a few days ago…

      A guy leaves his 5 year old daughter in the back of a running car to get his son from the barber, I think it was. I got the impression that the car was parked so the guy could keep an eye on it while retrieving his son. (Yes, stupid, especially in this day and age….)

      Anyway, crook, seeing a chance to make off with the vehicle, jumps in and starts to drive it away. Dad runs out and shoots the crook, killing him.

      Not 24 hours later, the crook appears on gunmemorial.org as a “victim of gun violence.”

      That is the type of distortion that Brady, Everytown, Million Moms, and a host of “anti-gun” groups are constantly pushing.

      If the crook had kept his paws off other peoples stuff, he would still be swapping O2 for CO2 today.

      As far as existing laws are concerned, people in Washington State were wise enough to put a preemption statute in place to prevent a patchwork of laws springing up that could make it perfectly legal to have a gun in one place, and you drive 1 mile, and now that very same gun is illegal, and you go to jail.

      If you don’t think that is exactly what some people in the local governments of places like Seattle want to have happen, you are either extremely naive, willfully ignorant, or agree with the premise in the first place.

      I get so tired of hearing the term “gun violence.” How many guns have you seen that jump right out of their holster and indiscriminately start firing without someone pulling the trigger?

      Why don’t we be fair then, and call all the attacks by the terrorists who used cars or trucks to kill and maim people, “vehicle violence.” Maybe those who have been using bike locks are really committing “bike lock violence.” Perhaps those who use baseball bats are really committing “fully semi-auto baseball bat violence..”

      Yeah, kind of dumb sounding right?

      But you see, that is a technique of propaganda. You stigmatize what it is that you want to control or eliminate.

      If you really dig down deep, and ask people who are in organizations like Brady, Everytown, ect. if their end goal is the elimination of all guns held in private hands, they will tell you something like “that just isn’t practical yet,” and attempt to dodge the question. That, in itself, should make it plenty clear that that is their end goal.

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      1. We can certainly agree about “fact burying” comments, but then “what if” and “perhaps 20 lives that could have been saved” seem to be back in the burying business! Buzz phrases such as “Brady Gun Grabbing Bunch” do a pretty good job of obscuring facts as well. “You stigmatize what it is that you want to control or eliminate.” Indeed.

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        1. Obscuring facts as well?

          No.

          Stating the simple truth, using the methods that the gun banners are using.

          That’s all.

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  10. Are more gun laws the answer? Really? Seems to me this is another knee jerk reaction to those who haven’t gotten the memo that there is evil in the world, man (and woman) is fallible and some people do bad things.

    Or is the action taken by the Edmonds City Council, as I heard a signature gatherer say when asking to support I-1639 earlier this year, just another “baby step”. Could that be a baby step towards complete government control and restriction of private firearm ownership?

    Those of us who are law abiding citizens begrudgingly follow the laws when they are passed by the majority of voters who think they are just being “reasonable” about private gun ownership. However, the most recent round of “reasonable” gun laws up for vote has crossed the line. By whose definition? How about by those who know that gun ownership is more than hunting, target practice and self defense.

    Here’s the thinking behind these new efforts…Guns are bad. People (most) who own guns are ignorant and oblivious to the immense responsibility of owning a firearm and therefore must be further “encouraged” by the law (by gun or by fine) to be more responsible with their private property located in their private residence. This particular private property (arms) is also tied into the Second Amendment of the Constitution. And that’s the rub. That’s the point that many who embrace more government control, intervention and intrusion really dislike. That “pesky” Constitution. Many celebrate (and abuse liberally) the First Amendment, but don’t realize that without the Second, you would not have a First.

    To those who eagerly embrace these efforts to control the private property of their neighbors, do you know how many gun laws are already on the books? Do you realize how many hoops law abiding citizens already have to follow to exercise our Constitutional right? You may be saying to yourself, “not enough because we still have people being injured and killed by firearms.”

    Are you seriously aiming for zero gun deaths by any accident or by any violence? It’s illogical. And impossible. But it’s a good goal to shoot for, right? No pun intended.

    And so what, if it further burdens law abiding gun owners. Maybe they will get so fed up with all these “sensible” gun laws that they will disarm themselves.

    For example, did you know that one of the many restrictions in I-1639 would prohibit an entire age group of law abiding citizens from even handling any semi-automatic rifles (.22 included). This initiative was promoted as simply raising the purchasing age for certain rifles from 18 to 21, but it would in fact prohibit anyone 18-2 from using any semi-automatic rifle. Period. No hunting, no target shooting. Period. To see how I-1639 would further burden legal gun owners check out this – https://washingtonarmscollectors.org/category/legislation-politics/

    As for a child (or vulnerable person) obtaining a firearm and something tragic happening because of it, that is a horrible situation and one that everyone who is considering owning a firearm must wrestle with when they decide whether or not to have a firearm in their home. That is an individual decision that everyone still has the right to make. Firearm ownership is a serious undertaking.

    But just in case you think that there are not enough risks tied to firearm ownership, as I’ve heard law abiding gun owners say more than once, “there is a lawyer attached to every bullet.”

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