Preemption in Washington State stands–for now

The back story is here, here, here, here, here, and here.

An email from Joe Waldron to the WA-Guns email list:

The Attorney General has issued Opinion Number 2008 — 8 that defines
state preemption as it applies to Mayor Nickels attempt to ban guns on
Seattle city property.

In a nutshell, the AG says “preemption means preemption.”

The AGO reads in part:

The question: “Does a city in Washington have the authority to enact a
local law that prohibits the possession of firearms on city property or
in city-owned buildings?”

The answer: “The answer to your question is no. RCW 9.41.290 “fully
occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation” and
preempts a city’s authority to adopt firearms laws or regulations of
application to the general public, unless specifically authorized by
state law. Accordingly, RCW 9.41.290 preempts a city’s authority to
enact local laws that prohibit possession of firearms on city property
or in city-owned facilities.”

He then uses a dozen pages of legalese to explain why the Cherry and
PNWSPA cases (state Supreme Court decisions that went against us) do not
apply here.

AG Opinions are published on the AG’s web site at

AGO 2008-8 is not posted yet, but should be shortly.

In all, to these non-lawyerly eyes, a well written stick to poke in
Mayor Nickels’ eye.

Another win for the good guys.

We need to thank Senator Morton (R-7), Representative Van De Wege (D-24)
and those other legislators who made the formal request to the AG for
this opinion.

And now for the down side: We can expect a frontal assault on
preemption in Olympia when the legislature goes back into session in
January. They’ve tried it before, and didn’t have quite the number of
votes they needed to pass. With ACORN & Co working overtime to register
fraudulent voters for the presidential election, we can anticipate
Democrat gains in the 2009-2010 legislature. That MAY be enough to push
them over the top.

Joe W


2 thoughts on “Preemption in Washington State stands–for now

  1. This is a great opinion. I would be very interested to how it might apply to our higher education institutions and their current policies banning possession of firearms on their campuses.

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