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WA Supreme Court stops lower court from striking high capacity magazine ban


(The Center Square) – A judge in Cowlitz County briefly handed a victory to gun rights supporters in Washington before the state’s highest court said not so fast.

The Washington Supreme Court on Monday evening issued a temporary hold on Superior Court Judge Gary Bashor’s ruling earlier in the day saying the state’s high-capacity magazine ban was unconstitutional. The move doesn’t reverse the ruling, rather keeping the status quo while the case is considered.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso in September, alleging the establishment offered to sell high-capacity magazines 11,408 times since July 2022 – when it became illegal under state law to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The lawsuit asserted the retailer intentionally violated the Consumer Protection Act when it continued to sell high-capacity magazines to the public.

In a written ruling released Monday, the judge said Washington’s ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines is unconstitutional.

“The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist to define the outer limits of what Legislatures and Courts are allowed to do,” Judge Bashor said. “Amending the Constitution and Bill of Rights cannot be done simply by enacting a law, or by a pronouncement from a Court. To move beyond the defined limits requires the Constitution to be amended.”

The Center Square reached out to Gator Guns in Kelso today for comment after seeing seeing this “not so subtle” response to the ruling on their Facebook page, but the employee who answered said they were too busy to comment.

A statement from Ferguson’s office just after the ruling said in part, “These magazines are frequently used in mass shootings. Washington’s law prohibits the sale, manufacture, and distribution of high-capacity magazines, but does not prohibit ownership of those magazines.”

It’s unclear how many gun stores opened Monday to sell high capacity magazines for the short window before the stay was issued by the Supreme Court.