Court Vacates, Remands Ban on Sale of Semi-Auto Rifles to Adults Under 21

A 4-year-old lawsuit challenging portions of gun control Initiative 1639 in Washington state is remanded back to the lower court for reconsideration under the Bruen guidelines, as Washington concealed carry continues to climb. (Dave Workman photo)

U.S.A.-( The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has vacated and remanded a lower court decision in the long-running challenge by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association of provisions in gun control Initiative 1639, passed in November 2018, that prohibits the sale of semi-auto rifles to anyone under age 21, and also prevents sales of such rifles to residents of another state.

The announcement came Dec. 2. Joining SAF and NRA in the February 2019 lawsuit were firearms retailers Daniel Mitchell of Vancouver and Robin Ball of Spokane, and three private citizens in the prohibited age group. The case is known as Mitchell v. Atkins.

According to the tersely-worded order, the motion was unopposed.

“The district court’s judgment is vacated in its entirety, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with the United States Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen.”

The court action further underscores the far-reaching importance of the Bruen ruling, which did away with a “means-end scrutiny” strategy created by the federal courts following the McDonald ruling in 2010 that allowed states to essentially get around the Second Amendment by considering whether a challenged regulation promotes an important government interest.

In a message posted on Facebook via his Sporting Systems store’s page, Mitchell noted the case is nearly four years old, and that “Additional GVRs (grant, vacate and remand) in other 9th circuit cases mean we are ahead of the game.”

“Bruen has landed firmly in Washington,” he wrote. “Long, slow, tedious process. But we’re winning. Stay the course.”

It was not the only good news for Evergreen State gun owners over the past few days.

New data from the Washington State Department of Licensing shows the Evergreen State could end the year with more than 700,000 active concealed pistol licenses, a stunning situation in a state identified for its left-leaning national politics.

However, policies put forth by political leaders ranging downward from Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the Democrat-controlled Legislature and municipal government leaders such as Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell have, say critics, contributed to a dramatic rise in violent crime. Seattle has already surpassed last year’s homicide total, lobbing 54 murders so far this year with most of December still over the horizon.

November ended with 698,196 active CPLs reported by the licensing department. That’s up 3,292 from the month-end figure Oct. 31 of 694,904. Should the pattern continue, December’s tally could surpass the 700,000 mark. This year began with 639,298 active CPLs reported Jan. 3, translating to 58,898 additional carry licenses for the year so far.

As earlier chronicled by Ammoland News, Washington has experienced at least two mammoth months for adding carry licenses. In June, the number jumped by 11,292 CPLs but the main event was in August, when a whopping 21,180 licenses were added to the rolls.

The state’s most populous county—King—has so far this year seen more than 12,000 additional carry licenses, possibly a reaction to constant news reports about rising crime in the Seattle metro area. As of Dec. 1, King County had 109,631 active CPLS. Neighboring Pierce County, a blue-collar and more middle-class county than upscale King has added more than 15,500 more CPLs, despite its smaller population, bringing its total to 93,438. But Tacoma, the largest city in the county, has also seen more than 40 slayings and there is a noticeable gang problem.

Snohomish County, on King County’s north side, has so far added more than 7,600 CPLs, bringing its total so far this year to 75,936 licenses.

What is happening in the Pacific Northwest? While far-left liberals who vote Democrat have been able to dominate elections in recent years—aided at least in part by a lethargic conservative voter turnout—the licensing department data suggests one of two things:

  • While Washington conservatives don’t vote with enough volume to overcome liberal Democrat strongholds, they are “arming up” against the crime wave brought on by liberal policies; or
  • People on the political left have watched police presence and manpower decline, largely because of policies they support, and they are now as worried about their own skins as their moderate and conservative neighbors.

This is not the time for gun owners to declare victory in the Northwest, however. The battle over Oregon Measure 114 is just beginning to heat and with the Washington case vacated and remanded, the fight has moved to another level, but is hardly finished.


About Dave Workman

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

Dave Workman

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Green Mtn. Boy

As the wording in the second indicates” Shall Not BeInfringed””,each and every gun control law is n Constitutional


Lawyers for both sides know, this is a very very Lucrative Cottage industry. It will continue well past the time most of us are done with this life.

Desert Guy

I only have a B.A. degree from a liberal arts college. But, when I read the U.S. Constitution, I see that government has no greater compelling interest than its adherence to the Constitution.


Now Desantis needs to repeal the handgun restrictions in FL on 18-21 year olds and strike down the states Red Flag laws. He talks a good game but has provided no action!.


DeSantis is the busiest and best governor in the country, it may look to the single issue voter that he’s ignoring their desires as he and his administration weaves their way through all the terrible political decisions Florida has been living under for decades. Your statement that “He talks a good game but has provided no action!”, comes off as a bit unhinged and silly to everyone reading this article. DeSantis is an astute operator. The issues you mention, age requirements and Red Flag laws are being litigated as this article illustrates, why should DeSantis get involved in them at… Read more »


I live here. Have for over 30 years. Tired of supporting politicians that ‘support’ 2A and do nothing for it. If it’s being litigated why is he wasting state money on defending an anti 2A law?

The old proverb of fooling half of the people all of the time comes to mind.


I agree! Having live in Illinois; one of the most corrupt Demon Rat run States, My Governor Ron DeSantis is a breath of fresh air. It may also be, that he is a member of The Navy Seals, one of the most honorable parts of said Military Service!
The only regret is, that he term limited!


Your statement is what the news media is pushing. IMO Kristi Noem is the best governor in the country. The only governor to say no mask first, the first governor to say the shot is your choice and not a requirement, the first and only governor to enforce no boys in girls swimming competitions, the only governor that said you do not need proof of a shot to attend a concert or go to work, the first South Dakota governor to make constitutional carry a law. I don’t see De Santis leading the charge on any of these things. I… Read more »

Desert Rat

Tulsi has never said that she had changed parties. She talks the good talk now, but never forget, she is a graduate of Klaus Schwab’s Young Leaders school along with Tom Cotton, Justin Trudeau, Macron in France and many others in high positions all over the world. She has never renounced them or addressed her membership in that pack of Manchurian Candidates. I don’t believe a word she says even though it sounds so good and Fox News has her on all the time. I think she talks the talk to gull conservatives into thinking she is one of us.… Read more »

Dubi Loo

DeSantis has no such authority. The legislative branch makes and repeals laws. Your criticism of the Governor, in this instance, is unwarranted.


Politics is a closed door game in many respects. If Desantis wanted to do something, I suspect there would be action on it.



DeSantis may have influence upon legislation (as do most governors) but he is not a dictator (or a democrat). same same.


I live here too nd know many folks who simply have given up on the rigged voting syste,. All mail in ballots have serious issues.Many county registrars have been refusing to examine and clean voter rolls ever, let alone on an annual basis. Ever since the Queen Christine debacle a decade or two back, the confidence level of the common man in this state has been way down. Ballot harvesting is rampant in some areas, and the voting results are thus no surprise. Out of stte money adds to massive corrupt in-state support of new “laws” like this 1639 just… Read more »