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Washingtons high-capacity magazine ban back in court, ruling expected next week

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(The Center Square) – Washington Supreme Court Commissioner Michael Johnson heard arguments on Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Gary Bashor’s decision last week that the state’s high-capacity magazine ban is unconstitutional.

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.

Johnson issued a stay, halting Bashor’s decision and temporarily reinstating the ban.

“A personal note, I’m a gun enthusiast,” Johnson said during Wednesday afternoon’s hearing.

He added, “I’m not deciding whether the Court is right or wrong.”

William McGinty, representing the state Attorney General’s Office, argued that several debatable issues are present, while Gator’s Custom Guns’ attorney Austin Hatcher asserted that the state failed to prove the existence of any debatable issues to be elevated to an appellate court.

Johnston expressed skepticism about Hatcher’s argument for the value of high-capacity ammunition for self-defense but did not side with either attorney.

“Hopefully early next week I can get a ruling out,” Johnston said.

The case could appear before the Washington Supreme Court later this year.