Federal Way gun store owner to pay $3 million for violating Washington gun law
Washington has concluded the first case it filed against a firearms store for violating the state's ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.
Federal Way Discount Guns was found guilty of committing "egregious and brazen violations” of state law in April 2023, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday as he announced a multimillion dollar settlement that will close the case.
According to the AG's Office:
- The Federal Way gun store, and its former owner Mohammed Baghai, are ordered to pay $3 million
- $1 million will go back to the state to cover the cost of litigating the case
- $2 million will go to local law enforcement to help counter gun violence
The AG's Office reports that after the state's ban on high-capacity magazines went into effect in July 2022, Federal Way Discount Guns sold nearly 4,000 of the magazines, despite the store being informed by distributors that they were illegal in Washington. The store continued to sell the products after the state sued over the violations in December 2022. It was the first lawsuit the office filed over the new ban.
According to the case presented by the Attorney General's Office, four investigators from the office were sent into the store over four months and purchased a total of nine high-capacity magazines, including a 50-round drum magazine. In each instance, the clerk threw away the receipt so there was no record of the product being sold. It was also commented on by staff that the sale was illegal. The store's owner, Baghai, handled one transaction for a 30-round magazine for an AR-style rifle, and a 33-round magazine for a Glock pistol.
“They knew they were violating the law, and they continued to sell these magazines," Ferguson said. "It took a court order to get them to follow the law. They fought our investigation every step of the way, including ignoring a court order to cooperate. They were held in contempt of court as a result of that.”
Baghai has since sold the shop to a family member and has moved out of state. The defendants have 30 days to pay the $3 million. Ferguson said he is confident the state will be paid and noted that the former owner owns millions in real estate investments, and has recently sold $5 million worth of land.
The settlement with Federal Way Discount Guns is the latest development in Ferguson's effort to enforce Washington's ban on high-capacity magazines.
Shortly after the ban went into effect, the Attorney General's Office began undercover sweeps of gun stores to ensure that the law was being followed. It found three stores that continued to sell the magazines. WGS Guns in Lakewood was fined $15,000 in December 2022 for violating the ban. The state has also sued Gators Custom Guns in Kelso. That case is ongoing. The AG's Office alleges that Gators Guns offered to sell high-capacity magazines 11,408 times after the ban went into effect, and sold five to undercover investigators. The store faces a fine of at least $7,500 for each sale.