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Seattle Judge Scraps NRA’s Suit Against City Gun Storage Ordinance

— October 23, 2018

A Seattle judged dismissed a gun storage lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association and a Washington firearms advocacy organization.

The suit, writes Fox News, takes aim at state legislation. A recently-passed Seattle ordinance requires that gun-owners ‘lock’ their firearms when not carrying or otherwise using them.

King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde discarded the suit after Seattle city attorneys argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing. They said the NRA could and already does encourage its members to take the same sorts of safety precautions the ordinance is advocating.

“They have not alleged an organization purpose to promote such irresponsible storage. Nor could they plausibly do so, since the advice they give their members to make sure their guns are responsibly stored so as to be inaccessible to others, especially children,” the city argued, “is consistent with, and not threatened by, the ordinance.”

Moreover, Seattle said the lawsuit was irrelevant because the legislation in question has yet to take effect.

“It seems the NRA jumped the gun in filing their lawsuit against this eminently reasonable legislation meant to protect children and the vulnerable,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a statement.

Washington voters will soon have the chance to weigh in on state Initiative 1639, Similar to Seattle’s gun-storage ordinance, 1639 would punish gun-owners with criminal penalties if they allow unsecured firearms to fall into the hands of children or other “prohibited’ persons. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:hecklerfan. (CCA-BY-3.0).

Homes said he doesn’t “see how the NRA could have standing in future challenges to safe storage legislation in Seattle or other jurisdictions, short of changing their mission to advise that their members keep guns openly accessible to children.”

Nevertheless, Fox notes that an appeal seems likely. Alan Gottlieb, president of the Bellevue, WA-based Second Amendment Foundation, says he won’t let Linde’s verdict go unchallenged.

“It’s frustrating when judges refuse to address the merits of a case and duck by saying the law is not yet in effect and plaintiffs have no proven they will be arrested if they violate the law,” Gottlieb wrote in an e-mail. “We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”

Washington’s storage law is slated to take effect in February. Fox says a gun owner ‘can be fined up to $500 if a firearm is not locked up. The fines jump up to $10,000 if someone uses the firearm to commit a crime.’

Nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bolstered Seattle’s defense along with law firm Orrick LLP.

The Spokesman says Everytown and Orrick offered their services free of charge.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan defended the ordinance in the wake of a statewide gun-regulations measure known as Initiative 1639.

That law, if passed, would enact more stringent gun-storage regulations than those already entrenched in Seattle.

“We will continue to work with our partners to stop irresponsible legal challenges to this commonsense, lifesaving measure,” Durkan added. “We will also ensure that significant portions of taxpayer money are not required in the case that there are future legal challenges to this law.

Several other states have passed similar legislation, which holds firearm owners indirectly responsible for any crimes committed by weapons they failed to secure.

The suit was first filed by two City of Seattle residents, Omar Abdul Alim and Michael Thyng. Their complaint was submitted almost as soon as the law had passed, with both men saying they feared for their safety if they couldn’t keep their accessible at night.


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