A judge has ruled against a suburban Seattle gun shop owner who sold high-capacity ammunition magazines despite a state ban.
The King County judge’s decision last week granted state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding Federal Way Discount Guns and owner Mohammed Reza Baghai in violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, The Seattle Times reported.
Ferguson sued the shop and Baghai, and another King County judge previously ordered the retailer to stop selling the magazines.
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“Federal Way Discount Guns chose to violate a law that makes our communities safer,” Ferguson said in a statement. “(The) ruling is an important step toward holding them accountable.”
Since July 2022, it has been illegal under Washington state law to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with limited exceptions. Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, said at the time the law could reduce the carnage seen in mass shootings because people could have the chance to escape or stop a shooter in the time it takes that person to reload a weapon.
A man holds a high-capacity ammunition magazine on Oct. 25, 2018, in Cedar City, Utah. A Seattle, Washington, gun shop owner is facing penalties for disregarding a state law banning sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines. (George Frey/Getty Images)
The shop argued in King County Superior Court filings that Baghai didn’t brazenly disregard the ban. Instead, he listened to law enforcement officials who told him the ban was unconstitutional and, therefore, wouldn’t be enforced, court documents said.
The filings in late March argue the Second Amendment grants Baghai and his shop a right to sell weapons, including the magazines. The documents had asked Superior Court Judge Wyman Yip to dismiss Ferguson’s request for partial summary judgment, noting two pending lawsuits in Washington’s federal district court challenging the state ban.
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The gun shop didn’t respond to requests from the newspaper for comment.
Ferguson sued the shop and its owner in December for violating the law after an investigation into gun retailers across the state found Baghai was illegally selling high-capacity magazines, which were on full display.
Yip ruled the shop violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Baghai did not contest that the shop sold at least 2,600 high-capacity magazines in the months before Ferguson filed the December lawsuit.
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Baghai faces a maximum penalty of $7,500 for every high-capacity magazine offered for sale and another $7,500 fine for every high-capacity magazine actually sold.
Washington state in recent years has expanded gun purchase background checks, created extreme risk protection orders, banned bump stocks, increased the age to buy semi-automatic weapons and prohibited the open carry of weapons near permitted demonstrations.
Several gun bills this legislative session — including a ban on semi-automatic rifles — are expected to make it to the governor’s desk as well.