Blue state high-capacity magazine ban is unconstitutional, judge rules, but law remains on books for now

Washington Judge writes that Founders ‘had no appetite to limit gun right’ in his ruling which would have allowed the sale of high-capacity magazines to resume.

Washington’s High-Capacity Magazine Ban was declared unconstitutional by a Washington judge on Monday. However, the law remains in effect for the time being after an emergency order issued by the Supreme Court of Washington.

The Seattle Times reported that Cowlitz County Superior Judge Gary Bashor found Washington legislators’ ban on 2022 sales of magazines with more than 10 cartridges violated both the state and U.S. Constitutions.

The Founders had no desire to limit gun rights. “Even though the specific technology of today was not envisioned by the Founders, they expected technological advances,” Bashor wrote. The result is that there are few, if not any, historical analog laws which can be used by a state to justify a modern gun regulation.

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He issued an order that would have prevented the state from enforcing its ban on high-capacity magazine sales and allowed retailers to resume their sale. Washington’s Attorney General immediately appealed the decision to the State Supreme Court. He called Bashor’s ruling “incorrect,” and said the law was “essential” to address mass shootings within our communities.

In a Monday statement, Attorney General Bob Ferguson (who is running for governor) said, “This law will save lives and I will continue defending it.”

Washington State’s Supreme Court Commissioner granted an emergency stay within minutes, allowing the ban to remain in place while the state appeals Bashor’s decision.

Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Gator’s Guns, a store in Kelso Washington, alleging that the store had continued to sell high capacity magazines after the ban was implemented. Gator’s Guns argued that the law was unconstitutional in its defense.

Bashor cited the U.S. Supreme Court Bruen case, where the majority ruled gun laws should be in line with the country’s long-standing tradition of firearm regulation. Bashor noted that Washington did not cite any law dating from the same period as Second Amendment adoption to justify the ban.

Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue based Second Amendment Foundation told Fox News that “it looks like Attorney General Ferguson shot his foot in the mouth when he went against the gun store because they didn’t comply with an unconstitutional firearm law.”

SAF is not involved in the case of high-capacity magazines, but is suing Washington for a different law that prohibits assault weapons. Adam Kraut, SAF’s Executive Director, said that the foundation was “disappointed,” with how quickly Bashor’s order was stayed by a higher court.

Kraut stated that “it seems courts are more than willing to step in quickly and protect the Government, but they do not review the constitutionality the laws as quickly.” Washingtonians are deprived of constitutional rights as this case continues.

Ferguson requested that the ban on magazines be implemented in 2022 by Democrat legislators. Since then, Ferguson’s office has targeted a number of businesses that are accused of selling illegally high-capacity magazine.

Ferguson had sued a Federal Way gun store owner and the store for violating the law. They agreed to pay Ferguson $3 million.