Gun Shop faces fine for selling high capacity ammo magazines

SEATTLE (AP) — A judge has ruled against a gun store owner in suburban Seattle who has been selling high-capacity ammo magazines despite a state ban.

The King County judge’s decision last week granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request for a partial summary judgment finding that Federal Way Discount Guns and owner Mohammed Reza Baghai violated Washington’s consumer protections law, the reported Seattle Times.

Ferguson sued the store and Baghai, and another King County judge had previously ordered the retailer to stop selling the magazines.

“Federal Way Discount Guns has chosen to break a law that is making our communities safer,” Ferguson said in a statement. “(The) verdict is an important step in holding them accountable.”

As of July 2022, it is illegal under Washington state law to manufacture, distribute, sell, or offer for sale any gun magazine that contains more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with limited exceptions. Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, said at the time the law could reduce the bloodbath in mass shootings because people could have the ability to outrun or stop a shooter in the time it takes for that person to reload a gun.

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The store argued in King County Superior Court filings that Baghai did not brazenly flout the ban. Instead, he listened to law enforcement officials, who told him the ban was unconstitutional and therefore would not be enforced, court documents say.

The late March filings argue that the Second Amendment grants Baghai and his shop the right to sell guns, including the magazines. The documents had asked Supreme Court Justice Wyman Yip to dismiss Ferguson’s request for partial summary judgment, noting two pending lawsuits in Washington Federal District Court challenging the state’s ban.

The gun shop did not respond to newspaper requests for comment.

Ferguson sued the store and its owner for breaking the law in December after a statewide investigation into gun dealers found Baghai was illegally selling high-capacity magazines displayed in full width.

Yip ruled that the store violated Washington’s consumer protection law, according to the attorney general’s office.

Baghai did not deny that the store had sold at least 2,600 high-capacity magazines in the months before the lawsuit was filed in December.

Baghai faces a maximum fine of $7,500 for each high-capacity magazine offered for sale and an additional fine of $7,500 for each high-capacity magazine actually sold.

Washington state in recent years has expanded background checks on gun purchases, created extreme risk protection orders, banned supplies, raised the age for purchasing semi-automatic weapons, and banned open carrying of guns near permitted demonstrations.

Several gun laws are expected to make it onto the governor’s desk this term, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

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