This could be an interesting day in King County, Wash., where the County Council is expected to join an effort by at least two local city governments to adopt regulations that challenge the Evergreen State’s long-standing preemption statute that forbids local governments from passing their own gun control laws, by approving a proposal put forth by Councilman Joe McDermott.
Gun owners in other states with preemption laws – there are some 40 such states – better pay attention because Washington has become a political test tube of sorts. First, ideas are tried in that state and if they work, they could show up in other states soon. The idea is to take down preemption laws and re-establish the confusing and often conflicting checkerboard of local gun laws aimed at discouraging gun ownership or disqualifying current gun owners by prosecutions for violations.
Lest there be any doubt, the proposal to require warning signs about gun ownership in gun shops, and require so-called “safe storage” of firearms in homes is not “gun safety” effort, it’s a gun control scheme, say critics.
Here’s the state statute on gun regulation:
“The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the 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. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”
Lawsuits have already been filed against Seattle and one other city for adopting their own gun control laws. Those lawsuits are joint efforts by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association. Some people have wondered why the State Attorney General’s office hasn’t taken action, but that doesn’t seem likely under anti-gun Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a liberal Democrat who has filed a bushel of lawsuits against the Trump administration, and who is strongly rumored to be planning a run for the governorship in 2020.
Several days ago, readers responding to a story about the gun control proposal at MyNorthwest.com, had some interesting observations.
One person suggested, “Put the signs at car dealerships too, ‘Owning a car increases the risk of driving drunk’.”
Another observed, “Are they also going to post warning signs at the ‘safe’ injection sites and vagrant campgrounds where violent crime is a routine occurrence?”
At some point, gun control laws will once again find their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which seems to be one reason that anti-gun Democrats have been laboring to prevent Judge Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed to sit on the high court bench. In the meantime, local politicians who claim to “support the Second Amendment…but…” seem intent on treating a constitutionally-affirmed right like a government-regulated privilege. It appears, gun owners argue, to be “fashionable” to attack the rights of gun owners.
If this were any other fundamental right, gun owners suspect there would be no attack at all.