Appeals court strikes city's gun 'storage' requirement

A three-judge panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals has ruled that a “safe storage” requirement for gun owners imposed by the city of Edmonds cannot stand, because such rules are controlled by the state.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation called the ruling a “significant victory for Evergreen State gun and privacy rights.”

His organization, along with three individuals and the National Rifle Association, challenged the city’s rule.

“Washington lawmakers wisely adopted state preemption more than 35 years ago,” he said. “The language is clear and unambiguous. Local governments cannot adopt or enforce their own firearms regulations that are more restrictive than state statute. The city of Edmonds knew this when the council adopted the storage requirement.”

The ruling, a unanimous decision, was from acting Chief Judge Beth Andrus and judges Bill Bowman and Lori Kay Smith.

“We … conclude that the legislature’s express preemption of ‘the entire field of firearms regulation’ is unambiguous and necessarily extends to regulations of the storage of firearms,” the opinion said.

Gottlieb said: “Let’s be clear about something. Edmonds didn’t adopt this safe storage mandate in the interest of safety, but rather to challenge and erode, if not irreparably dismantle the state preemption law. The city has no business dictating to citizens how they should store firearms in their own homes,”

He said state preemption is the most common-sense approach to firearms regulation.

“It provides uniformity on gun laws from one state border to the other,” he said. “Whether you live in Edmonds or Ephrata, the gun laws are the same.”

SAF and the NRA also are challenging a nearly identical ordinance adopted in Seattle prior to the Edmonds dispute.

Last year, the same appeals court ruled that the Seattle lawsuit can continue.

In the Edmonds case, it was Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Anita Farris who ruled the city requirement was impermissible.

WND previously reported SAF argued that “under Washington law, the state legislature has exclusive authority for all firearms regulation, including but not limited to ‘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.'”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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