WASHINGTON GUN LAW CASES - UPDATE 7/12/2023 - LIMITLESS AMERICA
We are currently appealing the Order to Transfer Venue from Stevens County, I have to submit a motion for discretionary review by end of next week. We are challenging both 1705 and 1240. While the process is slow, I can assure you that I am working diligently on both fronts.
At this point in time, the ATF rule pertaining to ‘ghost guns’ is vacated; that means the ATF cannot enforce it. I’m sure there will be an appeal filed by the DOJ/ATF, but at this point it is not a binding final rule. That said, the vacatur of the ATF final rule doesn’t impact 1705. I have filed it as supplemental authority, basically bringing it to the court’s attention, but it is persuasive at best, and not binding.
I think SMF has been pretty clear that this is a long uphill battle; given the denial of the TRO in Thurston County regarding 1240, in which the judge doubts that semiautomatic weapons are even “arms” protected by the Washington Constitution, I’m guessing we are going to lose in the Superior Court and have to appeal, and given the political makeup of the Court of Appeals Division II, we could lose there, too. Even if we win, the State will appeal to the Supreme Court, so this case, and potentially both cases, are going to go all the way to the top. Regarding our 1240 case: “Orders were just entered that we did not receive the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order), and that Alliance for Gun Responsibility was allowed to intervene as a defendant for the state. With 1240, we know the Court’s position; namely, that she (the judge) doesn’t even think semiautomatic firearms are “arms” that are protected by the Washington Constitution, and that no harm has befallen our plaintiffs or Washington citizens generally because other firearms are available to them and they are still able to purchase those guns.
We are obviously disappointed with the ruling, but think that it is unequivocal that semiautomatic firearms, disparagingly termed “assault weapons” by the state legislature, are protected as “arms” under the Washington Constitution. Swords, fixed blade combat knives, and other weapons which have historically been used for self-defense are protected; it is categorically true that semiautomatic firearms have historically been used for self-defense, and accordingly should be protected under the Washington Constitution.
Additionally, we have received dozens of emails from Washington citizens, which include members and donors of SMF, of the harm they have suffered due to the passage of SHB 1240; namely that they have purchased weapons prohibited by the bill and have been unable to actually receive them, as FFL dealers will not ship those weapons to Washington State, or give them to Washington citizens if the firearm has already been shipped to the state. We also have one petitioner, and other citizens who were too young to purchase a firearm of the type now banned, but have since reached the age of 21, and now are forever prohibited from owning the most common type of rifle, namely a semiautomatic rifle and specifically an AR-15.
As far as a plan of action, all we can do is do our best at each level, and fight the bad decisions made by the judges. We have to build as complete and robust a record as possible, and that is why we started with a TRO, will move to a Preliminary Injunction, and then a Permanent Injunction, with the potential of a Motion for Summary Judgment before a full trial.
Austin F. Hatcher Attorney