Federal Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss SAF/NRA Lawsuit v. WA Initiative

Vote NO on Initiative 1639
Federal Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss SAF/NRA Lawsuit v. WA Initiative

U.S.A. – A federal judge in Tacoma has denied a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year that challenges provisions of a restrictive gun control initiative adopted last fall by Washington State voters, providing an important win for gun rights activists in the Pacific Northwest.

The lawsuit challenges Initiative 1639, a billionaire-backed measure that strips young adults of their Second Amendment rights to purchase semiautomatic rifles of any kind unless they are over age 21. The initiative also places training requirements on buyers of any semi-auto rifle, requires so-called “safe storage,” registration, so-called “enhanced background checks” and other mandates.

The ruling, which may be read here, was handed down by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton.

Perhaps the most onerous of the measure’s provisions is that it includes a definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle” that literally covers every self-loading rifle ever manufactured. According to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who said earlier this year there really is no such thing as a “semi-auto assault rifle,” but the initiative simply invented a definition that, if upheld, can then be used in the future to further regulate or even ban such firearms.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, two Evergreen State firearms retailers and four young adults. They contend that the “multi-faceted initiative violates the commerce clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State constitution by preventing the sale of certain rifles to otherwise qualified adults under age 21,” according to a SAF news release.

The initiative campaign was backed by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a gun prohibition organization primarily funded by wealthy elitists in the Seattle area, plus Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. It was officially sponsored by “Safe Schools Safe Communities.”

SAF's Alan Gottlieb

Lined up against the measure were the NRA, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and several law enforcement organizations.

It’s been several months since the lawsuit was filed, and SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb was relieved that he could finally update supporters.

“The long delay is over,” Gottlieb said. “The important aspects of the motion to dismiss have been denied. Just as important, the judge’s ruling treats the Second Amendment as any other fundamental individual right that is constitutionally protected.”

Over the past several months, individual members of the Washington Arms Collectors, an organization directly affected by the initiative because of the 10-day waiting period mandate, have been donating to support the legal action.

I-1639 spanned 30 pages and was initially thrown off the ballot by a Thurston County Superior Court judge for not complying with state requirements regarding how the initiative was printed on the back of initiative petitions. Judge James Dixon said he could not read the tiny typeface used to print the entire initiative language on the petition, nor did it show underlines designating new language and cross-outs showing what language would be repealed by passage of the measure. But the State Supreme Court reversed him a week later and placed the measure back on the November ballot.

With this ruling, Gottlieb said the state, and the initiative proponents “are on the defensive.” If history is any indicator, anti-gunners will be sending fundraising emails accusing the NRA and its allies of trying to thwart the will of the people.

About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

  • 18 thoughts on “Federal Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss SAF/NRA Lawsuit v. WA Initiative

    1. Hopefully I can say this without offending anyone. And I’ll predicate it by saying my father’s acestors helped found southern California (the Pomeroy’s).
      This state (Washington) had been going down the you know what pipe since the first California refugees began fleeing that state in the 80’s and brought their communist rhetoric along with them to Washington state.
      Those of us who’ve never taken the oath to defend the constitution or whom lack the context of what it means to be an American are the ruination of what used to be the country (and state) I grew up in.
      The time to take this country back is nigh, and if we don’t do something soon the whole country will be California or Washington state.
      Way to go S.A.F. and N.R.A.
      The judge who ruled over this case also should be commended for his integrity and adherence to what it means to be an American

      1. In truth, Washington state was liberal long before the California infestation (although that did not help matters).

    2. I just read 1639 and am stunned. How could 60% have voted for this monstrosity? Permission from the state is needed to buy a semi-auto rifle or handgun. Signing an application for a license to buy will be considered the same as signing a release for medical records. Only it won’t be signing the release for anyone specific, any state official or any law enforcement official will be given full access to the applicant’s medical records.

      A “semi-automatic assault rifle” is defined as any semi-auto rifle. Period. A Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60 is a ‘semi-auto assault rifle.’ The application process is so convoluted it will discourage sales, there are special licenses for dealers, new paperwork requirements, and a requirement to notify the state on the same business day, of every sale of a ‘semi-auto assault rifle’ or handgun. There are storage requirements, and different penalties depending on what the person who unlawfully takes a gun does with it. Who wrote this thing, and why did anyone vote for it?

    3. All gun rules, regulations, policies and laws are unconstitutional and MUST be removed! Regarding the governments ability to impose “Reasonable Restraint” which has now become the mantra of our liberal influenced government.
      Supporters of the bill of rights claim they have a constitutional or Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Opponents counter even if it were the case, the government was granted the general power to place restraints on the right. Both of these assertions are based on a misconception concerning the intent of the document known as the Bill of Rights.

      When the Bill of Rights was submitted to the individual States for ratification, it was prefaced with a preamble. As stated in the preamble, the purpose of the Amendments was to prevent the government from “misconstruing or abusing its powers.” To accomplish this, “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” were being recommended. The Amendments, when adopted, did not create any so-called constitutional rights or grant the government any power over individual rights; they placed additional restraints and qualifications on the powers of the government concerning the rights enumerated in the Amendments.

      By advancing the myth Amendments grant the American people their individual rights, the government has illegally converted enumerated restraints and qualifications on its power into legislative, executive, judicial and administrative power over individual rights. The government claims it was granted the constitutional authority to determine the extent of the individual rights enumerated in the Amendments and/or impose “reasonable restraints” on those rights. This assertion is absurd. The government does not have the constitutional authority to ignore, circumvent, modify, negate or remove constitutional restraints placed on its power by the Amendments or convert them into a power over the individual right enumerated in the particular restraint.

      A denial of power or an enumerated restraint on the exercise of power is not subject to interpretation or modification by the entity the restraint is being imposed upon. The restraints imposed by the Amendments, which were adopted 4 years after the Constitution was ratified, override the legislative, executive, judicial or administrative powers of the government. If this were not the case, then the restraints would be meaningless because the government could simply circumvent, modify or remove them. Why would the States have requested and adopted enumerated restraints on government power, subsequent to their ratification of the Constitution, if the government possessed the authority to nullify them?

      When the government infringes on one of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights it is not violating anyone’s constitutional rights; it is violating the additional restraint or qualification placed on its power by the particular Amendment where the right is enumerated. The distinction between rights and restraints is critical. [The right is not given by the Government. Our rights are given by God and are inalienable. Therefore, they can’t be limited or taken away.]

      As stated in the Declaration of Independence, the American people have unalienable rights that come from a higher source than government or a written document. By acknowledging people have natural rights, which are bestowed by a creator, the Founders laid the foundation for the principle the government does not have the lawful authority to take away or infringe on those rights. This principle was incorporated into the preamble and structure of the Amendments to secure individual rights from government encroachment; that is why they were designed and imposed as restraints on the exercise of power.

      If the individual rights of the people had been created by the Constitution or an amendment to the document, then they would cease to be unalienable because the right would depend on the existence of a document. If the document or a provision of the document disappeared, so would the right. The belief individual rights were created by a written document has opened the door for the government to claim the power to define the extent of any right enumerated in an Amendment. This has transformed constitutional restraints placed on governmental power into subjective determinations of individual rights by the institutions of government. By failing to understand the difference between amendments that create rights and amendments that impose restraints on government, the American people are watching their individual rights vanish as they are reduced to the status of privileges bestowed by government because the constitutional restraints placed on governmental power are being replaced by government decree.

      Opponents of the Amendments always try to diminish the right enumerated in the Amendments by asserting rights are not absolute. This is just another straw man argument because the Amendment is about imposing a restraint of the powers of the government concerning a right: not granting a right or defining the extent of a right. In addition, a review of the Second Amendment shows the restraint imposed by the Amendment does not contain any exceptions.

      Legal precedence supporting constitution and bill of rights.

      Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137: “The Constitution of these United States is the supreme law of the land. Any law that is repugnant to the Constitution is null and void of law.”

      Murdock v. Penn., 319 US 105: “No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it.”

      Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 373 US 262: “If the state converts a liberty into a privilege, the citizen can engage in the right with impunity.”

      Owen v. Independence, 100 S.C.T. 1398, 445 US 622: “Officers of the court have no immunity, when violating a Constitutional right, from liability. For they are deemed to know the law.”

      Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 1974: Expounds upon Owen Byers v. U.S., 273 U.S. 28 Unlawful search and seizure. Your rights must be interpreted in favor of the citizen.

      Boyd v. U.S., 116 U.S. 616: “The court is to protect against any encroachment of Constitutionally secured liberties.”

      Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436: “Where rights secured (Affirmed) by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation, which would abrogate them.”

      Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425: “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

      Miller v. U.S., 230 F.2d. 486, 489: “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”

      Brady v. U.S., 397 U.S. 742, 748: “Waivers of Constitutional Rights, not only must they be voluntary, they must be knowingly intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness.” “If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being a gift of ALMIGHTY GOD, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” —Samuel Adams, 1772

      Cohens v. Virginia, 19 US (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821): “When a judge acts where he or she does not have jurisdiction to act, the judge is engaged in an act or acts of treason.”

      Mattox v. U.S., 156 US 237, 243: “We are bound to interpret the Constitution in the light of the law as it existed at the time it was adopted.”

      S. Carolina v. U.S., 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905): “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.”

      #RepealAllGunLaws #NoMoreGunControl #NoMoreGovernmentOverReach #DrainTheSwamp

        1. Sir there’s a lot of good Scratch that outstanding verbiage this man put into this Lotta research went into it and I appreciate it very good reading I like others are much more educated because this research as you should be as well.

      1. That is and was a good read I am smarter now and need to verify the writings otherwise I am easily led astray. I appreciate the length and scope

    4. The backers of the initiative will be meeting to consider either shopping for a friendly judge or offering a bribe to reverse that ruling.

      1. The Democratic People’s Republic of Seattle, of course.

        And the last I heard, most sheriffs in the state had stated that they would not enforce this abomination.

      2. I wonder how many of the thirty thousand profssional “homeless” who squat in that city you mention were bribed to vote on that initiative.

        I also wonder when those Supreme COurt judges will face felony perjury charges for refusing to abide by their oaths of office……. that initiative, as on the petition actually circulated, is in clear violation with Washington’s Constitution regarding such citizens’ iniatives, on at least two counts. One was detailed above. The other is the requirement tha NO citizens’ initiative can deal with more than one issue. As noted above, this one deals with about six that were mentioned, and nearly half a dozen more. The lawsuit SHOULD have been filed on that basis as well as the Constitutional issues.

        But it may well be that the decision to go after the federal violations does an end run around Washington’s corrupt state court systems, including the Supreme Court.

        The earlier initiative, 594? that mandates universal backgruond checks on every sale in the state, did the same thing. .. changed at least six different parts of Washington, and federal, law. Yet no one went after that issue….

    5. The will of the people at one time in one country was to place Jews in concentration camps in order to exterminate them.

      1. The people of Germany had no free will once the Nazi’s stripped them of their collective right to own firearms.

        1. @Wallace Curry,

          That was 1934 to 1935.

          Hitler had been Chancellor 4 a year to two years before he was able to Garner absolute power by 36.

          Prior to that, Germans went along with Hitler’s programs, because he actually delivered on his promises.

          The bottom line is that your answer is far too simplistic to describe the responsibility of individual Germans concerning Hitler’s actions.

          Post 1936 you might have an argument, however pre 36 there were no concentration camps, and thus no legitimate reason to remove Hitler.

          1. @JRB, I note that Mr Wallace mentions no date. You provide the dates. And actually, registration of all firearms was required and began during the Weimar Republic, in 1932. Siezures began with Jewish gun owners from the registration list. Please see “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and Enemies of the State” by S.P. Halbrook

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