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NRA sues Seattle over recently passed 'safe storage' gun law

The Second Amendment Foundation and NRA have filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle over the city's recently passed "safe storage" gun requirement, claiming it violates the state's preemption statute. (Photo: KOMO News)

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The Second Amendment Foundation and NRA have filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle over the city's recently passed "safe storage" gun requirement, claiming it violates the state's preemption statute.

The suit also names Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the Seattle Police Department and Chief Carmen Best. Durkan reacted to the suit Friday, “While they go to court – kids go to the hospital. We can’t prevent every gun death or injury, we can take steps to help prevent tragedies. I am grateful that legal experts who share our commitment to reducing gun violence are standing with us and standing up for safer communities.”

"We will prevail and will continue to push for more protection for our children," Durkan added.

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb expressed frustration that Seattle is once again trying to pass its own gun laws.

“Seattle seems to think it should be treated differently than any other local government when it comes to firearm regulation,” Gottlieb said. "We should not have to repeatedly remind Seattle that they are still part of Washington state and must obey the law.”

Joining SAF and the NRA in the lawsuit are two Seattle residents who both own guns.

Seattle's ordinance assesses fines of up to $10,000 against gun owners who do not safely store their firearms or report their misuse. The law would go into effect in January.

Among the changes enacted by the new law:

  • A gun owner must come to a police station or file a report quickly when a firearm is lost, stolen or used improperly by someone else. Failure to report a gun theft, loss or misuse could result in civil penalties.
  • Gun owners could be fined up to $500 for failure to store a firearm in a locked container or to render it unusable to anyone but the owner.
  • The fine would increase to $1,000 if a minor or prohibited person gets their hands on an unsecured weapon.
  • The fine would increase even more - up to $10,000 - if a minor or prohibited person uses an unsecured firearm to cause injury, death or commit a crime.

But the SAF and NRA suit claims state law prohibits cities, towns and counties or other municipalities from adopting gun regulations that exceed state authority.

"The state legislature has sole authority to adopt gun laws including, but not limited to, registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge and transportation of firearms," the SAF said in a press release announcing the suit.

The Seattle ordinance was drafted following the release of a new University of Washington study showing that nearly two in three gun-owning households in Washington state do not safely store their firearms.

"This is the kind of action we need to save lives," Durkan said when the ordinance was passed. "While we can’t prevent every gun death or injury, we can take steps to help prevent future tragedies."

POLL: Should Seattle’s new safe storage gun law stand or be struck down? Answer below or click here.



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