Gun rights groups sue to stop WA ban on semi-automatic rifle sales
Gun rights organizations are suing to stop a brand-new ban on the sale of AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles from going into effect in Washington state.
The ban became official Tuesday after Gov. Jay Inslee signed it into law. Part of the goal of the new measure is to prevent mass shootings.
The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation is among the groups suing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington over the passage of HB 1240, the bill that bans a range of semi-automatic weapons.
In an interview with KUOW, Foundation spokesman Dave Workman concedes semi-automatic weapons are used in mass shootings.
“Some people have misused these guns for horrible purposes,” he said.
But Workman said his group is suing because Washingtonians have a constitutional right to own these weapons.
“Some people use them to hunt small game," he said. "There are people who hunt coyotes with them all year long.”
Workman said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that overturned a concealed guns ban in New York could increase his group’s chance of success against the new Washington law.
The ruling created a higher bar for gun regulations.
“From here on out, the courts are to look only at the time the Bill of Rights was enacted, as a guide for whether a regulation is permissible,” reported NPR’s Nina Totenberg.
The foundation’s lawsuit against the ban of semi-automatic rifle sales in Washington state asks the courts to grant preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the law from taking effect, citing the Second and 14th amendments.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his office will defend the weapons sale ban in court, and that his office has been “undefeated” in defending state gun regulations against the Second Amendment Foundation and other groups.
Nine other states currently have similar bans.