Washington AG Files Lawsuit Against Gun Store for Violation of Magazine Ban

Magpul PMAG Gen3 (Window) 30 Round AR-15 Magazines
Magpul PMAG Gen3 (Window) 30 Round AR-15 Magazines

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The Attorney General of Washington State filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Federal Way Discount Guns, claiming the store illegally sold magazines that held more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

It has generally been illegal for anyone to sell magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition in Washington State, since July 1st of 2022, this year. There are some specific exceptions. The law is being contested in the courts. From the complaint:

Plaintiff State of Washington, by and through its attorneys Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General, and Ben Carr, John Nelson, and Bob Hyde, Assistant Attorneys General, brings this action against Defendants Federal Way Discount Guns, LLC, and its owner Mohammed Baghai. The State alleges that Defendants engaged in unfair and deceptive acts or practices, as well as unfair methods of competition, in violation of the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86, and RCW 9.41.375. The State alleges the following on information and belief.

When the law was passed, it contained both a straight criminal statute, RCW 9.41.370, and a strange criminal statute that defines the distribution of magazines as an “unfair method of competition” under 9.41.375. This allows a civil suit to be brought to the court. From wa.gov:

RCW 9.41.370

Large capacity magazinesExceptionsPenalty.

No person in this state may manufacture, import, distribute, sell, or offer for sale any large capacity magazine, except as authorized in this section.

RCW 9.41.375 

Large capacity magazines—Unfair method of competition.

Distributing, selling, offering for sale, or facilitating the sale, distribution, or transfer of a large capacity magazine online is an unfair or deceptive act or practice or unfair method of competition in the conduct of trade or commerce for purposes of the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW. [2022 c 104 § 4.]

Civil suits are easier to prosecute than criminal cases. In a civil case, the plaintiff only needs to show a “preponderance of the evidence” instead of establishing guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Washington State provides for jury trials on all civil cases except for traffic infractions.

Official prosecutors are unusual in the law. They have been given almost unlimited immunity from lawsuits themselves by an unprecedented legal decision at the Supreme Court in 1976.  In the case of Imbler v. Pachtman, the Progressive Burger Court declared prosecutors could not be sued.

Prosecutors may lie. They may present false evidence. They may withhold exculpatory evidence. But, according to the decision, no lawsuit can be brought against them.

In the recent Bruen decision at the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Magazine bans, which had been ruled to be constitutionally valid, back to the Third Circuit and the Ninth Circuit. The cases were granted certiorari, vacated by the Supreme Court, and remanded to the two circuits to be reheard, considering the restoration of the protection of the right to keep and bear arms under Bruen.

It seems likely magazine bans such as the Washington state ban will be found to be unconstitutional under the protections of the Second Amendment.  Court actions are not certain. Some of the courts seem to be playing delaying games, perhaps in the hope of progressive judges replacing those who say the Constitution has to be understood as it was written when it was ratified.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten