Council committee to hold special meeting July 18 to discuss repeal of gun storage law

A special Edmonds City Council committee meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 18 to discuss repealing the city’s much-contested gun storage and unauthorized use ordinance, which was invalidated in the courts.

The matter was scheduled to be considered by the council’s Public Safety, Planning, Human Services and Personnel Committee during its regular July 12 meeting, but the committee ran out of time to address it.

Proposed by then-City Council President Mike Nelson in July 2018, Ordinance 4120 was subsequently enacted by a 5-to-1 vote of the council. Passage of the ordinance set the stage for a flurry of legal actions, rulings and appeals pitting gun rights advocates against the city. Opponents maintained that the ordinance was illegal, in that it violated the Washington State Preemption Statute (RCW 9.41.290), which gives the state exclusive authority over firearms regulations statewide.

In a unanimous decision in April 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court denied the city’s petition to overrule last year’s Appeals Court decision that effectively invalidated the ordinance.

Also on the agenda is another matter that was discussed last week, with no decision taken –a proposal submitted by Council President Vivian Olson to edit the public information officer’s job description “to limit/prohibit…involvement in preparing opinion-based commentary.” After a long discussion on the matter, Councilmember Susan Paine proposed the committee keep the proposal on the agenda “one more month for review.”

Committee meetings are work sessions for councilmembers and staff, with no public comment taken. Persons wishing to attend this meeting virtually in lieu of in-person attendance can click on or paste the following Zoom meeting link into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: Or join by dial-up phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Staff and councilmembers attend committee meetings virtually, and members of the public are encouraged to attend the same way.
If members of the public cannot access the virtual committee meetings with their personal devices, a monitor is provided for in-person attendance at the city council conference room at 121 5th Ave. N., Edmonds.

You can see the complete special meeting agenda here.

  1. Edmonds City Government has a history of choosing to break State and/or City laws. City Officials have done so even when their constituents inform City Council of the laws that apply ahead of time. For example, Edmonds City Council has violated RCW 36.70A.390 more than once. City Council even did so the same night City Council adopted the Code of Ethics, June 2, 2015.

    The July 24, 2018, City Council Meeting Minutes include the following: Denis O’Malley, Edmonds, suggested it was a waste of time and money for the Council to address safe gun storage as it is governed by state legislation.

    I wonder how much time and money were wasted by the flurry of legal actions that followed the adoption of Ordinance 4120 on July 24, 2018. Will any City Officials ever be held accountable?

    The proposed ordinance in the Edmonds City Council committee meeting packet scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 18 states the following:

    WHEREAS, these ordinances were not found to violate the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, only the Washington Constitution, and only on the grounds that RCW 9.41.290 preempts the entire field of firearms regulation;

    Was violation of the United States Constitution ruled on by the Washington State Supreme Court? If not, why is this statement in the City’s proposed Ordinance?

    Also, why would anybody go out of their way to state that “only” the Washington Constitution was violated?

    Elected Officials and the City Attorney take Oaths of Office. I fear those Oaths are too easily forgotten.

    I’ve proposed a different Ordinance. My citizen proposed Ordinance includes the following:

    Section 1. Following adoption of this Ordinance, at the next Regular City Council Meeting, all City of Edmonds Elected Officials and the City Attorney shall reaffirm their Oaths of Office.

    My hope is this act to reaffirm will benefit all citizens of Edmonds, including elected officials.


    “Article NRA-ILA…In April, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the City of Emonds’ storage ordinances violated the state’s preemption law. The Everytown attorneys represented the city in this litigation. The ruling is a win for gun owners in Washington, and, more importantly, a win against activist local governments that attempt to illegally infringe on their citizens’ rights. The case is captioned Bass v. City of Edmonds. The Second Amendment Foundation also participated in this lawsuit.”

    America’s 1st Freedom, July 2022

  3. Council and Mayor owe the citizens an apology first and foremost. The State Supreme Court decision wasn’t even close: it was unanimous. Mayor and Council were making a “statement” with that ordinance but they had no authority to make it. That authority is left to the state of Washington, and the Supreme Court on the federal level. Council and Mayor have a habit of overstepping their authority to make “statements” which impinge on the rights of the established rights of citizens to know what the local ordinances are, that those ordinances are fairly applied, and that the City has observed its duty in making the ordinances. Ken is absolutely correct. There needs to be an accounting of how much money was frittered away (including all the time spent by staff and electeds to litigate the matter) …who paid for the process? What Lawyers did Edmonds use? No one should be comfortable when Council and the Mayor have no respect for their very narrow authorities (Land use, sewers, water, streets…all that is left AFTER federal law, state law, county ordinances.
    We just saw them do it again in their resolution. Whatever and however any citizen thinks about state and federal issues, it is not the business of the City to assert authority it does not have only to have its citizens pay for useless litigation. Time effort and resources need to go to issues over which the City does have authority. Constantly ignoring state law on the theory that no one will challenge them in Court is wrong amd grossly unfair to its citizenry. No citizen should be forced to litigate to make the City respect its limited authorities. That should worry all of us.

  4. Hoping for a solution to gun violence in this country? Look to New Zealand for inspiration.

  5. My Edmonds News reported the following in April of 2022:

    As the original sponsor of the ordinance, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson in a statement Thursday called the Supreme Court decision barbaric, stressing the issue comes down to protecting Edmonds citizens from gun violence.

    I’ve also asked for a Resolution of City Council informing the Washington State Supreme Court that the citizens of Edmonds and their elected City Council do not consider the State Supreme Court decision “barbaric”.

    I hope City Council will do so.

    We all abhor gun violence, but the Washington State Supreme Court has duties. They were merely performing their duties. Edmonds citizens deserve the Washington State Supreme Court be made aware that the citizens of Edmonds and their elected City Council do not consider the State Supreme Court decision “barbaric”.

    I hope Mayor Mike Nelson apologizes to the State Supreme Court for his “barbaric” comment.

  6. In what universe does any of this make any sense in terms of just efficiently running a town? How much money has been spent all told on this meaningless, unnecessary attempt to solve another national problem with some sort of ill advised and illegal city action that just somehow springs out of know where? What does any of this have to do with the real problem of highly armed police standing by while innocent little children are gunned down by another post adolescent, nut job, frustrated male human being with a military weapon? How does Edmonds end up with hysterical City Council Persons who pass meaningless, feel good, resolutions about national problems, that ticks off a good percentage of concerned Edmonds citizens, who just want real city only problems addressed and solved as efficiently and agreeably as possible. I’m gob smacked at the total insanity of this town’s bad leadership. It doesn’t seem like nearby towns have these seemingly never ending FUBARS and conflicts. HELP!

  7. I relate Clint. I emailed City Officials the following this morning:

    Does the City of Edmonds have a functional Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan? Why wasn’t Ordinance No. 4177 repealed at once? Clearly, it was a highly flawed Ordinance rushed into during a sudden Sunday afternoon meeting that Edmonds City Councilmembers had extraordinarily little time to prepare for. A comprehensive review was requested within 6 weeks – and now it is over 2 years later. ESCA, an entity that disbanded in 2015, is still referred to in Edmonds City Code. That new reference to ESCA was added to City Code in 2020!

    Why is it so hard to govern? Why cannot we rewrite a City Code that all know has had many, many problems since at least 2000. Why is there no accountability when the City violates its own Code or when budgeted items are not executed? Why are citizens harmed or helped by inconsistent, arbitrary application of our laws? Why do we no longer keep a record of what is discussed in Executive Session? Why do contracts expire without anybody within City Government noticing?

    It is beyond sad.

    I long for good, fair City Government. Instead, it may be getting worse as time goes on. The last email response I received from a Mayor of Edmonds was in March of 2012. You all know how many emails I send in. Again, I simply long for good, fair City Government. A City Government that honestly believes in liberty and justice for all. A City Government that has an official in place who actually performs the duty of seeing that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced, and that law and order is maintained in the City.

    Please pursue good, fair City Government each and every day. There is huge work to be done. Please remember that the citizens are at the top of the City’s Organizational Chart. Please emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public and each other. Please seek to improve the quality of public service, and please seek to improve the confidence of citizens.

    Thank you.

    1. Everytown attorneys represented the city in this litigation; theoretically, there was no fee but ? Donation? Goggle the name of this group and you will see who they are. Interesting information to tuck away.


  8. I just watched an excerpt of a committee meeting with Susan Paine, Laura Johnson and Vivian Olsen regarding the need to and process of repealing the illegal gun ordinance they passed against the advice of many concerned citizens at the time it passed. Susan Paine and Laura Johnson seem to want to prolong the agony of this ill advised venture into solving national problems by inserting some sort of pro gun safety jargon in the repeal ordinance.

    When Vivian Olsen was tying to have her say to the effect that we should just repeal the ordinance and move on because many citizens didn’t think it was appropriate city business in the first place and they are supposed to represent all citizens views in their actions, she was rudely interrupted and cut off by meeting moderator Laura Johnson including a snide remark toward V.O. Unprofessional behavior at best, incompetent at worst and it won’t get better anytime soon. It will never get better if we keep electing and appointing highly partisan political party types to city office.

    1. I agree, Susan Paine and Laura Johnson are lacking in any civil communication techniques. I believe we, as a community have had enough of them with their bullying and partisan activity that has wasted literally hundreds of hours of what could have been productive towards our community goals for ALL of Edmonds. Our Mayor has the same affliction and many who voted for these 3 will not repeat their mistake again. I look forward to the opportunity to help remove their rude, partisan rhetoric and actions.

  9. We are now down to three adults in the room when it comes to our city council. Our Mayor and at least two Council Members are highly partisan in their thinking and actions regarding city business, all of which (the business discussed) should be ONLY highly non-partisan in nature. The only good city council person is one that makes you ask yourself, “I wonder what party they would support in state and federal affairs?”

    I’m tired of perfectly good neighborhoods being reimagined by people who don’t live and do business in them, people being vilified for either cutting down or planting trees, the entertainment business being favored over the merchandising business in our downtown, and our city so called leaders addressing the national problems of climate change, abortion rights and gun safety law that are obviously out of the context of just making a city run smoothly.

    1. Clint, we are in agreement more and more during this last year. I appreciate your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.