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Appeals court rules gun owners have standing

Lawsuit over city firearm storage ordinance can proceed

 

Last updated 10/20/2020 at 2:32pm



SEATTLE – A state appeals court has ruled that Seattle gun owners have legal standing to sue the city over an ordinance mandating firearms and ammunition be locked up.

The Monday, Oct. 19, ruling means a lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association can either be heard in a lower court or appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The city ordinance was passed more than two years ago; violators can be fined up to $10,000 if their firearm is used in an incident in which someone gets hurt or uses it in a crime. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the ordinance, citing a pre-existing state law that prohibits cities from enacting municipal-level firearms that exceed state-level laws.

The appeals court decision overturns a 2018 decision by a King County Superior Court judge to dismiss the case. In that ruling, the judge said gun owners who had not been fined lacked standing, and could not sue the city.

The appellate court disagreed.

“We conclude that justiciability defects do not remove a superior court’s subject matter jurisdiction and that the challengers have plausibly alleged a justiciable controversy under the appropriate CR 12(b)(6) standard. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings…,” the court ruled.

The decision does not affect gun-control measure Initiative 1639, which makes owners criminally liable if their gun is stolen and used in a crime or other incident, among other gun regulations and restrictions.

I-1639 was approved predominately by Puget Sound voters on Nov. 6, 2018, and its provisions became law statewide during 2019.

 

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