Appeals Court Allows Seattle's "Safe Storage" Law's Challenge To Proceed

Washington State Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a lower court that dismissed a lawsuit challenging Seattle’s firearm storage laws. The suit claimed that Seattle’s Responsible Storage Law violated the state’s preemptive laws.

The law demands that gun owners lock their firearms in a container that could not be easily opened or “otherwise defeated by the use of common tools.” Firearm owners who failed to observe this law would face a $500 fine for failing to lock their guns. A fine of $10,000 was payable by individuals whose firearm was used to commit a crime.

Additionally, the law targeted firearm owners who failed to report unsecured firearms, which got lost, misplaced, or used by unauthorized people. The law was passed in 2018 and took effect in February 2019.

Abdul Alim and Michael Thyng, backed by a couple of gun rights groups, moved to court to challenge the law immediately after its passage. However, King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde dismissed the case arguing that the primary plaintiffs lacked a basis for the case.

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan went on a victory lap, claiming that the court had sided with the City of Seattle. She promised to work with stakeholders to “stop irresponsible legal challenges to this commonsense, life-saving measure.”

On Monday, October 19, 2020, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the plaintiffs had a “plausible justiciable controversy” and reached the court’s threshold to file the suit.

“The City argues, instead, that Alim and Thyng have not adequately pleaded injury in fact because the City has taken no enforcement action against them and they did not allege an intent to engage in conduct that violates the ordinance,” Washington Appellate Court Judge Beth Andrus penned the unanimous opinion.

“Their interest as individual gun owners in keeping unsecured firearms in their homes is clearly within the zone of interests regulated by the ordinance. The City does not contend otherwise,” the opinion concluded.

The City of Seattle could move to the Supreme court or decide to argue the case in court. However, the City will likely try its best to avoid arguing a losing case in court.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.

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