Lawsuits target constitutionality of voter-approved gun control measure in Washington state | 2019 Legislative Session

Lawsuits target constitutionality of voter-approved gun control measure in Washington state | 2019 Legislative Session

Gun Rights

OLYMPIA – Two civil rights lawsuits in Washington state have challenged the constitutionality of certain bans enacted through the gun control measure, Initiative 1639. Each lawsuit is built on the premise that the initiative deprives plaintiffs of rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The plaintiffs have remained the same for each case, whereas the defendants have been changed. Two firearm dealers, four young adults and two gun rights organizations joined forces to originally file a complaint against the state of Washington and Attorney General Bob Ferguson. That case was dismissed on Feb. 20 on account of the state and Attorney General’s sovereign immunity, however, a new suit had already been filed on Feb. 8. The new lawsuit featured the same plaintiffs — which include the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation — suing Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins, Spokane Chief of Police Craig Meidl and Director of the Washington State Department of Licensing Teresa Berntsen. Each defendant was summoned on behalf of their authority to revoke a license for violations of Washington laws governing sales of firearms. Joel Ard, attorney of Ard Law Group representing the plaintiffs, explained how state authority can revoke a firearm license even though the action is legal under federal law. “Craig Meidl has statutory responsibility under Washington state law to issue a state license to the firearm dealer, Robin Ball,” said Ard. Ball, who is a plaintiff in the case, has a federal firearms license and […]

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