A Kitsap County woman, allied with two pro-gun groups and a local gun shop, is taking the state of Washington to court over its ban on standard capacity magazines.
The 18-page federal lawsuit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, pits gun owner Gabriella Sullivan, King County FFL Rainier Arms, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition against a host of state and county officials. The plaintiffs argue the ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition violates constitutionally protected rights of Washington’s law-abiding citizens, leaving the right to keep and bear arms "a second-class right," all without curbing crime.
"The State of Washington,” reads the complaint, "has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right of self-defense. By banning manufacturing, importation, distribution, and sale of standard-capacity firearm magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition ('standard capacity magazines'), the State has barred law-abiding residents from legally acquiring common ammunition magazines and deprived them of an effective means of self-defense."
When it comes to magazine capacity, be it on a fixed or detachable type, the size the firearm is designed for and marketed with is typically regarded in the gun industry as the "standard" capacity. For instance, the standard capacity for the Browning Hi-Power, one of the most popular semi-automatic handguns, first patented in 1923, is 13 rounds.
When the AR-15 first hit the market in the early 1960s, it used 20-round detachable magazines although 30-round magazines were soon the standard. The Glock 17, first introduced in the U.S. in 1984, was marketed from the beginning with a 17-round flush-fit magazine. The FN FiveSeven pistol, developed in the early 1990s, has always been marketed with a 20-round magazine.
"Many of the most popular handguns and modern semiautomatic rifles come standard with magazines that hold more than ten rounds,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in an email to Guns.com. "Such firearms are legally owned by Washington residents. As we note in the lawsuit, there is no reliable proof that restrictions on new manufacturing or sales of such magazines will reduce violent crime. This law unfairly and arbitrarily penalizes honest citizens for crimes they didn’t commit, in the hopes of preventing crimes they wouldn’t dream of committing."
The case is Sullivan v. Ferguson.
Banner image: AR-15 with non-Washington-complaint ETS coupler mags. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)