Legal Issues

Washington Takes Oppression of Gun Owners to New Lows

Washington capital building

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, backed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, signed a sweeping gun package into law that includes a ban on so-called assault weapons. Quite simply, lawmakers are running amok with zero regard for the Constitution or ruling from the Supreme Court. This is, unfortunately, getting to be so common some would contend it is not newsworthy.

House Bill 1240 was part of a three-bill gun control legislation package. HB 1240 is blatantly unconstitutional. The bill essentially uses a convoluted framework to make essentially every semi-automatic rifle and many shotguns illegal. It specifically lists 50 types of semi-automatic rifles and sets forth a series of design features, attachments, or aesthetics that would also cause an “unnamed” rifle to be illegal under the law.

Washington gun control infographic
Washington State recently passed a trio of draconian gun control bills that punishes legal gun owners and has no provisions to keep guns from the hands of criminals.

Washington State is not the first to enact such laws; it is the latest and perhaps the worst. HB 1240 has taken the laws in California and New York to new levels. Even though the Supreme Court struck down similar gun control measures in NYSRPA v. Bruen, Illinois and Washington have completely disregarded the decision and passed even more restrictive laws than those already declared unconstitutional.

In the Bruen decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that AR-15-type firearms were “in common usage,” a principle most attributed to the Heller decision. However, in the early 1920s the North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Kerner upheld the constitutional right to carry a pistol openly without a license. To the citizen, “The rifle, the musket, the shotgun, and the pistol are about the only arms which he could be expected to ‘bear,’ and his right to do this is that which is guaranteed by the Constitution,” said the ruling.

House Bill 1240 Lowlights

  • Assault weapons are civilian versions of weapons created for the military and are designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently.
  • The legislature finds that assault weapons are not suitable for self-defense and that studies show that assault weapons are statistically not used in self-defense.
  • The legislature finds that assault weapons are not commonly used in self-defense and that any proliferation is not the result of the assault weapon being well-suited for self-defense, hunting, or sporting purposes.
  • The legislature finds that the gun industry has specifically marketed these weapons as “tactical,” “hyper masculine,” and “military style” in a manner that overtly appeals to troubled young men intent on becoming the next mass shooter.

Taking Action: The Second Amendment Foundation

Responding quickly to the adoption of House Bill 1240, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new statute on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds and is asking the court for preliminary and permanent injunctions.

Second Amendment Foundation logo and address
Don’t forget to support those leading the fight for our Second Amendment rights!

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The case is known as Hartford v. Ferguson. Joining SAF are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Sporting Systems, a Hazel Dell retailer, and three private citizens—Brett Bass, Douglas Mitchell, and Lawrence Hartford—the last for whom the case is named. They are represented by Seattle attorney Joel Ard.

Named as defendants are Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste, Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese, and County Prosecutor Chad M. Enright; Kittitas County Sheriff Clayton Myers and County Prosecutor Greg Zempel; Clark County Sheriff John Horch and County Prosecutor Tony Golik; and Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney and County Prosecutor Jason Cummings, all in their official capacities.

“The State has enacted a flat prohibition on the manufacture, sale, import, and distribution of many types of firearms, inaccurately labeled as ‘assault weapons,’ which are owned by millions of ordinary citizens across the country,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “In the process, the state has criminalized a common and important means of self-defense, the modern semi-automatic rifle. The state has put politics ahead of constitutional rights and is penalizing law-abiding citizens. This legislation does nothing to arrest and prosecute criminals who misuse firearms in defiance of all existing gun control laws. It is absurd.”

Gottlieb noted that SAF already has two legal actions in progress challenging Washington gun laws. One lawsuit concerns the magazine ban and the other challenges the ban on sales of semi-automatic rifles to young adults. gun control red t-shirt
If anti-gun lawmakers were honest, they would admit that restricting legal gun ownership will not prevent criminals from committing a crime.

“The hysteria manufactured by the authors and supporters of this legislation is rivaled only by the false characterization of the banned firearms as ‘weapons of war,’” SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut added.

“As we note in our complaint, the firearms that Washington bans as ‘assault weapons’ are, in all respects, ordinary semi-automatic rifles. To the extent they are different from other semi-automatic rifles, their distinguishing features make them safer and easier to use. But even if they are considered as a separate group of ‘assault weapons,’ they cannot be banned because they are not dangerous and unusual.

“We will take this case to the highest court in the land, if necessary,” Kraut added. “This sort of legislative demagoguery cannot be allowed to stand.”

Others Joining the Fight

The SAF is not alone in opposing the gun control effort. “This new law is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court long ago ruled that states cannot ban firearms that are in common use,” Aoibheann Cline, Washington state director of the NRA-ILA, said of the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington state. The NRA-ILA lawsuit is joined by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Aero Precision, and Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop.

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Comments (46)

  1. I can understand if they pulled a “Midnight Legislative,draft and pass” without warning but ya’ll had enough time and an extremely effective,quickly organized and heavily armed example of 25,000 legally armed citizens can make a very intimidating and a deadly serious statement(Which Governor Blackface-Klansmanwas going to sign in,which I believe was an “Executive Order” banning large capacity magazines,above 10 rounds,Gun show background checks and Redflag Laws)of how “We the people”can get a low IQ and spineless bureaucratic Governor, in which up until this day was con vinced he was going
    to be pushing them through.When that fridgely cold January morning in 2020…”VCDL’s Lobby Day” came around and the greatest display of what the 2nd Ammendment is all about,up until and still to this day,the reality of what was going to happen hit him.The mood the entire fall of all the commonsensicle people was already anger and frustration since he had announced his intentions of what he was going to do with his gun laws along with the all of the
    COVID (Fake Plague)tyranical policies he was forcing down our throats here in Virginia.Put it this way…he thought better.

  2. Spoons kill more people every year with the needle or just over eating spoons kill more people, then guns should ban them lol. People have been shot every day since the dawn of guns it’s part of crazy rat race we live in that there are f’ ups and ppl that follow the rules and we shouldn’t be punished for the few f’ ups there are

  3. READ: We in WA just got F’D again by our politicians Yesterday 05/02/23 You can now no longer order ammo from out of the state vendors!!!!!!! RCW 9.41.110 revised to in state sales only or ship to FFL……. Please understand that the generic comments made by others that “you voted for these people” is absolutely FALSE I and my friends DID NOT and would not. But this is what happens when the California exodus migrates to your State and you let a small but large population (Seattle) dictate your states politics. This is why Eastern WA and Oregon are trying to succeed from WA to Idaho…..
    Pray for us and if you visit bring us ammo, because our politicians only protect the homeless and Antifa and leave us to protect and defend our own Sh!t. Literally had a Homeless pull a knife on me in my front yard, pulled my gun and called 911, 51 minutes later they showed up and asked: Is there a domestic dispute at this address……… WTF????? Thankfully the drugged out idiot realized a knife does not equate to 44 Mag. I almost had to defend myself in court for protecting my family. Pray for us we are your brothers and sisters from another mister….. yeah probably typ-o’s I am Afterall so pissed and utterly disenchanted with our gov that I’m litterally shaking! My flag is upside down SEND HELP NOW!

  4. Of more concern to me is the Washington legislator, governor, and attorney general appear to think the only reason for owning a firearm is for self defense. This needs to be challenged but maybe from the context of right to own, regardless of usage, shall not be infringed.

  5. I am sure that the legislature and local police will have no problem with the legions of homeless, drug dealers and of course drug users having these weapons for self defense. After all, logically they need such “Weapons of war” to protect themselves from the onslaught of the general public and the endless successions of “aid workers” who ostensibly promise help repeatedly and yet never deliver.

    Why not? The state continues to cede large swaths of unused property to these people to set up tents and other temporary dwellings. . preferably close to those places where they can shoplift up to $1,000 worth of goods Scot free!

    I have never seen a city in such a rush to destroy itself in the name of tolerance. . .save maybe San Francisco. God help the honest citizens.

  6. To John Hutchins…what makes you think I voted for the guys? Please don’t use a blanket term like “you” to describe those of us who oppose these people. Your comment lumps all into one kettle, and that’s just not the case.

  7. So the entire west coast is under Draconian firearms prohibitions now, lovely. And how does restrictions on MSRs, semi-auto pistols, and what accessories you can put on your firearm stop mass shootings exactly?

    If someone is going to commit a heinous crime they are not going to be concerned with this ridiculous law only law-abiding citizens will adhere to it. Washington’s government wants to make its citizens defenceless while the wolf paws at the door

    Even if you take guns out of the equation altogether, humans are violent by nature and have found ever more creative means to kill each other for millennia. They will just find other means to harm the innocent. A car is a deadly weapon when the driver intentionally drives into a crowded sidewalk. Take the two worst terrorist attacks in modern history, there wasn’t a firearm involved! The death toll was staggering but you don’t hear anything about boxcutter control or limiting how much diesel fuel you can buy.

    This new law is a power play by the liberals who are trying to take us back to the feudal times of old. Look at all of these dem-run cities, drugs and crime run rampant while the homeless are like a plague sleeping and defecating on the streets. Riots in Chicago, an open border in Texas and new gun laws for Washington so you can’t even protect yourselves when you have never needed to more. This is what happens when Democrats run the show, all of these bleeding hearts trying to save the minority and destroying the rest of the country in the process.

  8. I have had firearms for over 50 years. I am tired of blanket statements about Democrats and gun ownership. I don’t need your publications attacking me because I’m not a Republican, I was for many years until I got tired of the Republican Party (NRA) lies. You can take me off your email system, I don’t need your crap!

  9. Democratic governments eventually end. view the history of the Democratic based Roman Empire. We the people of this nation have to make a change that will be very difficult because we are limited on who we choose as a leader. The two main people running for president in 24 are both unfit for office. Change is needed to restore the rights of the people. A gun is a gun, to be used by a person to make use of it as they see fit under the constitution. If a person is unfit and unable to make sound decisions in the use of the gun they are the problem, not the gun. A gun put on a table untouched by a person will remain on that table for all time, it won’t hurt anyone. I have zero issues with a background check to make sure a prospective gun owner isn’t nuts

  10. I really feel sorry for those of you in Washington (and Oregon). BUT you voted for these liberal politicians! You knew what they were before you voted, but you elected them anyway. You may have waited too long to change your fate. You have allowed yourself to live under a “one-party” political regime and you may never be able to redeem the “two-party” system. Perhaps you need to move to a free state, where there are still freedoms and old fashioned American Values. However, if you have those oppressive liberal values, then stay where you are and live with your values, don’t export those liberal ideas to the free States. Good Luck

  11. At the time of the passing of the 2nd amendment the “weapon of war” was a single shot Musket, this alone shows how absurd the far-left communists are.

  12. Good news in Illinois on Thursday or Friday. A federal judge issued a TRO stopping all the uncut constitutional laws for bump stocks, and he included pistol braces in his summary. He also included large sections on Heller versus Chicago McDonald versus DC and Bruin, and with his summation determined that these weapons are in common use and are protected under the constitution. Oh, and another thing his concealed carry card has been held for six months by the state of Illinois. I thought that was a champion move on your part.

  13. Come in Get them, this is a moved out of this liberal dem state. WE ARE TEXANS. So We are ready!!
    So VIVA cheaper than Dirt!! Educated your self and family about weapons!! GOD BLESSED THE USA and TEXAS,

  14. Our governor Enslee has not represented Central or Eastern Washington over the last 4 years. His reign will end and we need to reject his recent gun law. It’s Unconditional and the Government needs to overturn his Bullspit. This will not prevent any further crime or murders ir mass shootings. Our POS Governor needs to go

  15. Just like Mike N, we, too, live in Western Washington; King County to be exact. There are 3 counties that usually carry the opinion and vote. There are a lot of liberal “sheep” here that blindly follow the false narrative put out of Olympia (in addition to D.C.). The shooting range we’re members of has been singled out as a scapegoat to be “made an example of” for Inslee and his lacky Bob Ferguson. I hope all this gets overturned. If I had the means right now, I’d be gone as well.

  16. Both Jay Inslee and Bob Ferguson tasted absolute power during the pandemic years. Jay stuck onto his emergency powers for well over 900 days. Ferguson crushed any opposition to the stupid pandemic restrictions. They are both power hungry monsters. Ferguson wants to run for governor, pushing these “laws” cemented the enamor of the anti-gun crowd with him. He will deplete the oppositions money since they will have to use their limited funds to sue the state government while he will use unlimited state funds to defend the unconstitutional laws that were enacted on his behalf. He and Inslee are playing politics in the worst way. They are using the taxpayers or Washington state to further their goals of total dominating power. According to Inslee this was a law to save lives and he needed the immediate enactment clause in the legislation but it took him a week to gather all the anti-gun folks for the photo-op signing. So, where was the emergency? Pure politics!

  17. The first thing an oppressive government does is disarm its citizens. Remember, you elect these liberal communist who continue to take and or attack your constitutional rights. Time to stand up and demand that if legislators violate our constitutional rights they are immediately removed from office.

  18. Here in Washington we have a governor who hates all guns and gun owners and will do anything to take away our rights. This same governor will not abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court regarding abortions and slams them for their decisions. This same governor allows illegal drug use to occur without any arrest or prosecutions.
    Between drug use and overdoses and the killing of pre-born babies in this state, more deaths occur than any type of gun use.

  19. I really hate the term ‘assualt weapon’ being used for AR’s. Every gun is an assault weapon, From BB to a tank.

  20. we need to get rid of the atfe, all there configuration laws are just gun owner herasment a gun is a gun no mater how it is configured.

  21. Come try to break in my home, car or attack me and will be happy to show them how I Defend My Keep !!

    Slowly becoming Communist America due to tolerance and Democrats

  22. Oh you may have no idea!! Look whats happening in Oregon. Its incredible. go to this site and read the progression of info articles they have. You folks outside OR and WA dont think you are safe. Whoever thought Oregon would try to go Australia on us.

  23. Moved to Washington in 1978 from the Peoples Republic of Maryland. though I had arrived in heaven. Beautiful state, wonderful friendly people. Had a business there for over 40 years, employed people,
    Gave up most businesses, no more employees, and now in the process of totally evacuation . Kids closed businesses, moved to Florida, I moved to Alaska. There’s no hope for Washington. Soon they will run out of other peoples money. What a shame when productive businesses have to leave. Seems they got away with the Covid lie, and are now going to double down on repression for as much as they can get away with.

  24. This is what happens when the deep state Democrats and RINOS SELECT the President and gets away with election theft and interfere! Basically, they ran a coup da Tat! NOW, they believe they can get away with any violation of the Constitution, the law of the land. You do not have to follow unconstitutional law. There are border laws, are these laws being enforced? NO! The Democrat Party weaponized all the three letter agencies so that they work in concert with the Democrat and RINO Parties through their unelected appointed bureaucrats! Do not give up your weapons, ever! History proves that mass murder by one party state actors follows. They are trying to establish one party rule in the USA, I predict it will end like most of these regimes have ended throughout history, in utter destruction. Global government is one party rule, your God given rights and the Constitution will go away! Do not support those with ambitions for global governance! They are not building a New World Order (NWO), they are trying to reestablish the Old World Order (OWO), elites living on top being served by masses of peasants! Guess where we fit in unarmed! Continue to Prepare, Do Not Comply!

  25. Inslee roles around the state with his protective detail, and says to law abiding gun owners , “ LET THEM EAT CAKE.”

    Washington States criminal justice system is a joke , coddle the criminals, because it isn’t there fault. Who cries for the victims, no elected official in Washington State. Hand out after Handout, criminals are just victims of our corporate capitalistic society.

    Limit law Enforcement Officers Ability to effectively do there jobs, which is protect ,”we the people”.

    Vile and disgusting, kiss the criminal and there families ass’s , while crapping on law abiding citizens.

  26. A bad man (Cain) killed Abel with a rock. A good man (David) killed a giant with a rock. It’s NOT THE ROCK!!!

  27. Why does the SCOTUS tolerate the open defiance of lawless state legislators who ignore it’s rulings? In cases where SCOTUS is obviously occupying the high ground they should slap down these absurdly concocted nuisance laws immediately and not wait for the merits to be bandied about in lower courts first. All that does is lead to more hardship and confusion for the people.

  28. One of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time is H.R. 450 sponsored by Missouri Representative Eric Burlison to repeal the NFA. The National Firearms Act has done nothing to reduce crime but has become a tremendous financial burden on the US and burden in general to law abiding citizens.

  29. I now will AVOID going into the state of Washington, just like California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, etc. , UNTIL they abide by Supreme Court/Federal laws that protect our Constitutional Rights!!!!!

  30. The corrupt/Treasnous are the ones who have no problem murdering a million babies a year, the corrupt have no problem trying to make you think , that they have a right to infect your children minds with immorality, (transgender crap)racism( crt) boarders wide open to sex trafficking includes children, Fentanyl that has killed 108 thousand half children and this is just some of the things like the corrupt Democrats and their allies in the media refuse to tell because their involved in it! You really wonder why these corrupt want We the people disarmed? They want no obstacle in their way!!!

  31. These dum ass politicians pushing these unconditional gun laws threw should be ran out of the country flicking morons

  32. I wish these lawmakers could live in the type of country that they are turning our country into. I have been there and it is not fun.

  33. I’m still hoping, it seems in vain, that the SCOTUS will take a case regarding the restrictions being placed on the ownership and use by LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS by federal, State, and local legislators and decide such a case according to an EXEGETICAL, ratrher then eisegetical, interpretation of the Second Amendment once and for all.

  34. When the government disarms the populace, the populace is at the mercy of the government. Hitler did that, Mussolini did that, and how did it work out for their countrymen?

  35. These state and local governments need to feel the pain of ignoring court decisions. If there isn’t any pain applied to those knowingly defying court precedence, they will continue to pass these frivolous unconstitutional laws. It is not as if they can’t spend taxpayer dollars on more needy things like actual crime prevention.

  36. Am I the only one that sees what the government is trying to. Unarm the volunteer civilian militia. So china can come in and take over, no defense at all

  37. This is BS and it is so infuriating. It’s an action, just for the sake of action. As if they pass one more new gun law or gun ban and magically all the criminals and mentally ill folk who kill people are going to follow the laws. Those people already commit murder, ILLEGAL. Already obtain guns when they are felons, ILLEGAL. And already break many other laws. Why will the next new gun law make any difference. It would seriously be like if someone ran a car thru a crowd and killed people, and these dems said, “we have to ban all cars”.

  38. Mike N, that is precisely why I left Washington in 2013. I was a Deputy Sheriff there and if I were to still be employed as such, I would not enforce the idiot leftist law.

  39. I hope you’re right. Our legislature’s anti-firearm zealotry is only matched by their desire to erode parental rights and finding more ways to tax us to into homelessness.

  40. Either courts (including SCOTUS) will strike this down, or they won’t. My real concern is that so many elected officials feel empowered to disregard court rulings.

  41. I, unfortunately, live in WA state, and can attest that the whole system of local, county, and state governments have been taken over by ultra-liberal and woke politicians, voted in mostly by a huge influx of Californian transplants that have been moving here since the 1980’s. At least on the western side of the state, that is the most populous. (You could almost classify them as an invasive species.) Because of this, the State Supreme Court heavily leans that direction, too. I hope these lawsuits can prevail in Federal courts.

    1. It is certain to win in Federal court/Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the anti-gunners have gotten better about dragging out the process. Hopefully, the SAF or NRA suit will get an injunction quickly. ~Dave

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