A huge victory for gun advocates, as a judge has struck down a law that bans guns in parks in Seattle. On Friday the judge ruled that the law violates Washington state's long-standing preemption statute, which says that only the state, and not local municipalities, can set gun laws. Seattle's new mayor, Mike McGinn, now wants to change that law so he can reinstitute the ban.
The law was put into effect by former mayor Greg Nickels. It was quickly challenged. The Second Amendment Foundation, which filed the suit along with the NRA and others, is thrilled with the outcome:
“This is a great victory for the rule of law and Washington citizens,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Greg Nickels was so blinded by his personal hatred for firearms owners and his own arrogance that he imagined the city under his control could simply ignore state law. That arrogance cost Nickels his job last year. We repeatedly warned him not to push a gun ban, but he refused to listen.
“It is also a victory for the Legislature,” he observed, “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. The ruling solidifies the legislature’s authority and sends a message to city and county governments to stop meddling with the rights of Washington citizens.”
Mayor McGinn's reaction was predictably far less enthusiastic:
"I am disappointed in today's ruling. Cities should have the right to restrict guns in playgrounds, pools and community centers where children are present. The court's ruling was based on a state law... which preempts Seattle from regulating the possession of firearms. It's time for the state Legislature to change that law."
The Washington law that placed sole authority for regulating firearms in the hands of the state legislature was adopted in 1983 and amended in 1985. It has served as a model for similar laws across the country.