EVERETT — Edmonds can’t tell people how to store their guns, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge has ruled.
The decision arrived Friday, more than a year after three Edmonds residents filed a lawsuit against the city, with the assistance of the National Rifle Association and the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.
The Edmonds law, which took effect in March, required gun owners to keep their firearms locked up and inaccessible to others, especially children.
The city council passed the ordinance in July 2018. The next month, Edmonds residents Brett Bass, Swan Seaberg and Curtis McCullough filed for an injunction.
Attorney Eric Lindberg argued during a hearing Friday that state law pre-empted local governments from enacting their own regulations related to the possession of firearms.
Judge Anita Farris agreed, at least when it came to the storage of firearms. She granted a summary judgment ordering that the city not enforce the storage aspect of the ordinance.
She ruled, however, that the plaintiffs had no standing to challenge a portion of the city’s law regarding access to firearms. A person could still be fined up to $1,000 if someone, such as a child or a thief, gets unauthorized access to a gun. And if an unauthorized person uses the firearm to commit a crime or injure themselves or others, the gun owner could be fined again, up to $10,000.
If the ordinance were enforced in its current state, Lindberg said a judge might have to parse out how those penalties are assessed.
During Friday’s hearing, attorneys representing the city of Edmonds indicated they would appeal the judge’s decision, Lindberg said. Calls and email to representatives of the city were not returned Monday.
Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said an appeal would allow the case to be heard in a higher court, making the precedent all the more important.
“If they want to appeal it, I welcome it,” Gottlieb said Monday. “I’m sure we’re going to win ultimately.”
The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation officially pulled out of the lawsuit in June. But the organizations have continued to conduct and fund the legal fight on behalf of the three other plaintiffs.
The Edmonds ordinance is similar to a Seattle law that was challenged by the National Rifle Association. A King County judge tossed out that case, and that decision also was appealed to a higher court.