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Seattle Attacks Gun-Owners With 'Safe Storage' Gun Laws, Blindsided After NRA Shows Up With Lawsuit

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A recently passed law by the City of Seattle is facing a lawsuit before it even goes into effect.

The National Rifle Association, the Seattle-area Second Amendment Foundation and two Seattle residents are suing over the city’s new gun-safety law, which was signed into law last week and becomes effective Jan. 1.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in King County Superior Court. The suit alleges the new “safe storage” requirement violates state law which prevents cities from regulating guns.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan — who signed the law into effect — and the city’s police chief, Carmen Best, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Under the new law, gun owners can be fined up to $500 for failure to store a firearm in a locked container or to render it unusable by anyone other than the owner. That fine would increase to $1,000 if a minor or anyone else prohibited from using the gun gets their hands on an unsecured weapon.

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A fine of up to $10,000 would be assessed if a minor or prohibited person uses an unsecured firearm to cause injury, death or commit a crime.

In addition, a gun owner who does not promptly report a lost, stolen or “improperly” used gun could face fines of between $500 and $1,000.

The legislation will apply only to guns that are stored. Guns being carried legally under the control of their owners are not affected.

In a statement announcing its lawsuit, the Second Amendment Foundation said the state’s legislature has sole authority to adopt gun laws including, but not limited to, “registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge and transportation” of firearms.

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“Seattle seems to think it should be treated differently than any other local government when it comes to firearm regulation,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said, according to KOMO-TV. “We should not have to repeatedly remind Seattle that they are still part of Washington state and must obey the law.”

The city responded to the suit with an expected “do-it-for-the-kids” argument.

“Frankly, this is no surprise,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a statement to The Seattle Times. “The mayor and council are trying to prevent children from accessing guns with this Safe Storage legislation. If the NRA and SAF want to be on record fighting responsible gun ownership, that’s their choice.”

Dave Workman of the SAF said the law not only doesn’t improve safety, it also is almost impossible to enforce.

“How do they expect to enforce something like that,” Workman told KCPQ-TV. “What a person does in the privacy of their own home is really none of the city’s business.”

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This is not Seattle’s first attempt at going around state law to control guns. In 2010, the city banned firearms from Seattle parks. Again, the NRA and SAF sued, and the law was eventually ruled unconstitutional.

While those on the left will argue this is simply the kind of “common sense” gun laws they often demand, the reality is that responsible gun owners almost always have their weapons secure. And the two citizens who are part of this suit claim the law would prevent them from having guns by their side if they believe they were needed for self-defense.

Workman says he doesn’t believe this new law will be on the books for long, and said the mayor has a larger goal in mind with this ordinance.

“The purpose isn’t safe fire arms, they are trying to erode the state’s preemptive statute,” Workman said.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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