Three months after losing unanimously before Washington State’s liberal Supreme Court in its challenge to state gun law preemption, the City of Edmonds has repealed its “safe storage” ordinance, but that still leaves nearby Seattle with a similar regulation on the books, which the high court’s decision effectively nullified.
Seattle adopted its ordinance about the same time Edmonds did in the summer of 2018. Both cities were immediately challenged by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association on state preemption grounds. The preemption law had been on the books for more than 35 years at the time, so it was surprising to many in the firearms community that State Attorney General Bob Ferguson did not take action. It is the job of the attorney general’s office to defend and enforce state laws.
Edmonds lost at trial, and then unanimously in the State Court of Appeals, according to MyEdmondsNews.com. It sought to have the state Supreme Court reverse the appeals court ruling, but was stunned when the unanimous decision went the other way this past April.
That was two months after then-new Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced he would work to repeal the preemption statute, erroneously declaring at the time, “We are one of the few states that has that kind of restriction, allowing the state to govern the laws we need for our city of Seattle.”
While Harrell may have expected Seattle media to not question the remark, it was his bad luck that the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is headquartered in nearby Bellevue. CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb quickly set the record straight.
“Forty-two states have preemption laws,” Gottlieb said in a bristling news release, “and that is hardly ‘a few’ states, as Harrell would have the public believe. Washington was among the first to adopt this law in 1983, and its statute has been used as a model by other states when they adopted similar statutes because they all saw the common sense of gun law uniformity.”
The gun rights advocate added, “Bruce Harrell needs to reload his brain before shooting his mouth off.”
There has been no announcement on whether Seattle has pulled its gun law, but Harrell has made it clear he wants the state statute—which has been the model for similar laws in other states—repealed. This would allow local communities to turn back the clock 40 years to a time when there were confusing and conflicting local gun ordinances in effect. Preemption, first adopted in 1983 and strengthened in 1985, changed that and brought uniformity to Evergreen State firearms regulation. The law put all authority for firearms regulation in the hands of the State Legislature.