A federal judge in Washington state has refused demands from state officials to throw out a lawsuit challenging new restrictions on guns that voters adopted.
The Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association are both plaintiffs in the case, which is joined by two gun dealers and four young adults who claim their right to own weapons under the Second Amendment has been violated by the statute.
Initiative 1639 has been described as a “hodgepodge of gun control schemes.”
It requires that gun owners lock up their firearms or be considered criminals. It strips young adults of their Second Amendment rights, the plaintiffs contend. And it lets the government “collect and use gun owner information to enforce compliance and authorize gun confiscations.”
The decision by U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton means, according to SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, “the long delay is over.”
“The important aspects of the motion to dismiss have been denied,” he said. “Just as important, the judge’s ruling treats the Second Amendment as any other fundamental individual right that is constitutionally protected.”
The defendants, several state officials, had argued that the law-abiding gun owners and retailers did not have standing to sue because they were not in danger of being arrested or penalized. But the judge said the plaintiffs don’t need to violate the law and risk punishment to raise the challenge.
The case “challenges provisions of the controversial, multi-faceted initiative on the grounds that it violates the commerce clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State constitution by preventing the sale of certain rifles to otherwise qualified adults under age 21,” the gun rights advocates explained.
The 30-page gun control measure was passed in November. Under its provisions, young adults under age 21 can no longer purchase semiautomatic rifles of any type or caliber, because they all fall within the overly broad definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle.” The measure also requires a 10-day waiting period, so-called “enhanced background checks” and a fee to pay for additional paperwork.
“Our supporters have been asking for months about the lawsuit’s progress,” Gottlieb said. “Now we can report that the long wait for a ruling on the motion to dismiss is over, and we won the first round. And now the state, and the initiative proponents, are on the defensive.”
Gottlieb earlier explained that gun prohibition lobbyists are using Washington state as a test tube for their gun control plans.
Bill Burriss of the Washington Arms Collectors has noted that the proposal “has no public safety value.
“We must all take a stand against this attack on our basic civil rights,” he said.