Gun owners sue city over mandatory gun lock law

Two gun owners allied with a Second Amendment group last week filed a legal challenge to a new city ordinance recently enacted by a Seattle suburb.

Brett Bass and Swan Seaberg have filed a lawsuit against the Snohomish County city of Edmonds following the adoption of a local law mandating that guns be locked up under penalty of civil fines that range up to $10,000. The two firearm owners, backed by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, hold that the city’s new ordinance tramples on Washington state pre-emption statutes that bar county and municipal governments from adopting gun laws.

“The city council clearly understands pre-emption, but went ahead with this ordinance, anyway, undoubtedly knowing it would be overturned by the court,” said SAF founder, Alan Gottlieb. “It seems as though their ultimate goal is to convince voters that gun law uniformity is somehow a bad idea, so it should be changed.”

Backed by Edmonds City Councilmember Mike Nelson, the council approved the measure 5-1 last month at a public meeting that saw a packed house of those on both sides of the issue weigh in on the matter. The only council member voting in opposition, Kristiana Johnson, did so out of fear it would spark a lawsuit similar to one recently filed by gun rights groups against Seattle’s new gun regulations.

The potential for litigation, according to KTTH, was well-known by Nelson, who the conservative talk radio station said worked in conjunction with the regional gun control group Alliance for Gun Responsibility to craft the ordinance. The proposal was introduced to the public at an event where Moms Demand Action and AGR were given time to speak. The city lawmaker backed the move to keep “stolen guns out of the hands of criminals, reduce accidental shootings by children, and reduce risk of suicide.”

The plaintiffs want the courts to issue an injunction preventing enforcement of the Edmonds ordinance, which is set to take effect in 180 days. The city is set to respond to the lawsuit by the end of the month.

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