SEATTLE — The law has sided with gun rights advocates who took the city of Seattle and former Mayor Greg Nickels to court over the city’s gun ban.
King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer on Friday ruled in favor of the plaintiffs – the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens’ Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors, National Rifle Association and five individuals – and declared the city of Seattle’s gun ban at public places is in direct violation of Washington state’s firearm pre-emption law.
In issuing the ruling, Shaffer wrote, “Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s Rule/Policy Number P 060-8.14 (“Firearms Rule”) violates Washington law and on that basis, is null and void.”
The city has been ordered to remove all signage banning weapons from public areas within 30 days.
Last June, Nickels issued an order banning guns on city facilities where children are likely to frequent. The places on the ban list include parks, playgrounds, community and environmental learning centers, sports fields and courts, swimming beaches, pools, water play areas, skate parks and golf courses.
The plaintiffs’ complaint challenged Nickels’ executive order, stating “ownership of firearm is a clearly protected right under the United States and Washington Constitutions.”
The complaint also cited Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, who issued an opinion in response to the city’s ban, stating state laws “preempts a city’s authority to adopt firearms law or regulations of applications of the general public.”
SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb called Friday’s ruling “a great victory for the rule of law and Washington citizens.”
“It is also a victory for the Legislature,” Gottlieb said, “because this case affirms the intent of lawmakers in 1983 to prevent cities like Seattle from creating a nightmare patchwork of conflicting and confusing firearms regulations.”
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, on the other hand, said he’s “disappointed” in the ruling.
“Cities should have the right to restrict guns in playgrounds, pools and community centers where children are present,” he said. “The court’s ruling was based on a state law, RCW 9.41.290, which preempts Seattle from regulating the possession of firearms. It’s time for the state Legislature to change that law.”