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Judge tosses NRA lawsuit over Seattle’s gun-storage law

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 19, 2018

In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, guns safes sit against a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, guns safes sit against a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the National Rifle Association against Seattle’s new gun-storage law.

King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde ruled Friday, tossing the lawsuit on technical grounds after the city contended the plaintiffs lacked standing and noted the law had yet to take effect, the Seattle Times reported.

“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.

The law, passed in July and set to take effect in January, says a gun owner can be fined up to $500 if a firearm isn’t locked up, up to $1,000 if a minor, “at-risk person” or unauthorized user accesses the weapon and up to $10,000 if someone uses it to commit harm or a crime.

The NRA with the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and two Seattle residents said in the lawsuit that the storage requirements violated Washington state law, which prohibits cities from regulating guns.

Linde didn’t rule Friday on whether Seattle’s requirements violate Washington state law.

Second Amendment Foundation officials said Friday they may appeal.

“It is 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 not proven that they will be arrested if they violate the law,” Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”

The lawsuit was expected by the city and pro gun-control groups including the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety and the law firm Orrick LLP, which represented Seattle at no charge.

In 2010, Seattle introduced a ban on firearms in city parks. The law was ultimately ruled unconstitutional after NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation sued the city.

Last year, however, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Seattle’s tax on guns. The ordinance imposed a tax of $25 per firearm and 2 or 5 cents per round of ammunition. It raised $93,000 in 2017.

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