One legal challenge to Washington's 'assault weapons' ban fails in court
One challenge to Washington state's new ban on "assault weapons" has failed its battle in court.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan has rejected a bid by the Second Amendment Foundation to block House Bill 1240 . HB 1240 — titled "Establishing firearms-related safety measures to increase public safety" — passed the Washington State Legislature last session. Multiple lawsuits were filed immediately, challenging the ban. This is the first legal challenge to receive a court conclusion.
“We remain undefeated against the gun lobby in court,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement following the decision. “This common-sense gun reform will save lives by restricting access to the preferred weapon of mass shooters.”
The Second Amendment Foundation argued Washington's new law is unconstitutional, but the judge said the group had not shown that public interest favors a preliminary injunction against the new law.
According to Judge Bryan's conclusion:
"The Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction should be denied. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of the motion nor have they raised a serious question on the merits tipping the balance of hardships in Plaintiffs’ favor. They have not pointed to irreparable harm if an injunction does not issue, that the balance of equities tips in their favor, or that public interest favors a preliminary injunction. Issues raised in this opinion cannot be resolved on a motion for preliminary injunction."
The judge denied plaintiff's motions for preliminary injunction and to advance the case to a trial or summary judgement "without prejudice," which means the Second Amendment Foundation could modify its case and refile it in the future.
The state's new law does not prevent people who already owned assault weapons from possessing them. Washington is the 10th state to pass its own ban on the sale and importation of assault-style weapons. The Attorney General's Office notes that two other legal challenges to the law are pending — one in state court and the other in federal court.