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Washington state gun shops caught illegally selling high-capacity magazines, says AG Ferguson

caption: Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson looks on during a news conference in Seattle on Dec. 17, 2019.
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Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson looks on during a news conference in Seattle on Dec. 17, 2019.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Wednesday that his office is suing the Federal Way Discount Guns and Indoor Range, one of two stores he says his office caught illegally selling high-capacity magazines.

The high capacity magazines hung on the walls at Federal Way Discount Guns. Employees there sold nine of the banned magazines to state investigators on four occasions.

That's according to Ferguson, who is suing the shop in King County.

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It's one of two firearm retailers in Washington found to be in violation of the state's ban on high-capacity gun magazines. The second has not been named by Ferguson's office, as it is under investigation.

Ferguson said in Federal Way, employees indicated they knew the sales were against the law.

"The individual selling the high-capacity magazines would not give us a receipt," Ferguson said.

"They literally tore them up and put them in the trash can. In one case it was the owner of the business that did that...and so they understood what they were doing — these were quite out in the open. It was brazen to be honest with you, and they sold numerous high-capacity magazines, including one up to 50 rounds."

Federal Way Discount Guns could be fined a maximum of $7,500 for every time high-capacity magazines were sold or offered at the store.

The store has not responded KUOW's request for comment.

It is illegal for Washington retailers to sell magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, a rule the state Legislature made in 2022 in the spirit of preventing gun violence and mass shootings. It passed 55-42.

Ferguson's office investigated 25 stores across the state. He said the good news is that most are in compliance with the new law.

"Gun store owners, they want to follow the law," Ferguson said. "They don't want to get cross-wise with the law, and that was our experience here."

He said 23 out of 25 stores were following the law.

"We went to large businesses, we went to small businesses, all around the state. But yes, if there is a dealer out there who is not following the law, they should change their practice immediately or they're going to have a lawsuit by the attorney general filed against them."

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