In February, a new gun law is slated to go into effect in the city of Seattle. This new law will require all gun owners to lock up their firearms when they are not in use. Those who do not lock up their firearms risk a fine of up to $500.
It didn’t take long for the NRA and a local Washington gun rights group to push back against this law, filing a lawsuit against the city of Seattle. On October 19th, though, this lawsuit was dismissed by King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde. Linde expressed agreement with the city’s argument that the new law was “eminently reasonable” as well as their argument that the law could not yet be challenged since it hasn’t actually gone into effect.
“It is frustrating when judges refuse to address the merits of a case and duck by saying the law is not yet in effect and plaintiffs have not proven that they will be arrested if they violate the law,” said Alan Gottlieb, the president of the Bellvue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation who, along with the NRA, filed the lawsuit against the city of Seattle, “We will continue this litigation and force a judge to rule that the law is illegal.”
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, however, expressed a different view of the situation, saying, “It seems the NRA jumped the gun in filing their lawsuit against this eminently reasonable legislation meant to protect children and the vulnerable.”
Of course, Holmes’ definition of “eminently reasonable” is anything but to those who understand the Second Amendment. Forcing gun owners to lock up their firearms under fear of criminal penalty is not only a serious violation of individual rights, it also negates the primary reason why so many people choose to own firearms in the first place.
A gun that is locked up in a safe is virtually useless as a means of self-defense. A person may have time to open the safe and load their firearm in some home-invasion scenarios. In most scenarios, though, doing so will simply take too much time.
The city of Seattle is forcing gun owners to adopt a practice that will cost them minutes in situations where every second counts. They are essentially nullifying the right to self-defense in a roundabout way that violates the spirit of the Second Amendment without violating the letter of the law.
Responsible gun owners do not need the city government telling them how to secure their firearms in order to keep their children safe. Irresponsible gun owners are, by nature, not going to follow the law anyway. Like so many ill-thought-out gun control laws, Seattle’s new law will only serve to punish safe, responsible gun owners while doing nothing to address the real problem.
Nevertheless, at least for now, the law will continue as scheduled, stripping the rights of Seattle citizens to adequately defend themselves in their own homes. Both the NRA and the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation have given every indication that they will fight the law again once it actually goes into place and the judge does not have an easy cop-out for dismissing the case. We can only hope that they are successful in getting this unconstitutional law overturned.
Gun-grabbing cities such as Seattle far too often serve as proving grounds for much more large-scale laws. In fact, come November, Washington residents will have to vote on a state-wide gun security law that is even more stringent than the one that was passed in Seattle. If laws such as this are allowed to go into effect unchallenged, the gun control crowd could very well strip citizens of their Second Amendment rights without ever having to confiscate a single firearm.
If there’s any silver lining to this story beyond the fact that gun rights groups are fighting against the law as hard as they can, it’s the fact that Seattle’s law will be almost impossible to enforce. Unless the police have a search warrant to enter a Seattle home, no one is ever going to know whether or not a person is keeping their guns locked away in a safe. Still, it’s a sad day when American citizens must break the law in order to defend their families and their home.
~ American Gun News