BELLEVUE, WA â€“ The Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is hailing an opinion issued this week by Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna that says cities cannot enact local laws to prohibit the possession of firearms on city property or in city-owned facilities, effectively nixing a plan by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to do just that by executive fiat.
The opinion was written in response to an inquiry from several state lawmakers. It was signed by Deputy Solicitor General William B. Collins.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said the opinion, dated Monday, Oct. 13, â€œconfirms what we said in June regarding the mayorâ€™s proposal.â€ CCRKBA said then that the Nickels proposal would violate the stateâ€™s model preemption statute, one of the first and most effective such laws in the nation.
â€œWe advised the mayor in a letter that his proposed â€˜executive orderâ€™ would run afoul of the law, and that we would take legal action,â€ Gottlieb recalled. â€œThanks to the attorney generalâ€™s opinion, that no longer appears necessary.â€
â€œThe opinion,â€ added CCRKBA Legislative Affairs Director Joe Waldron, â€œstands not only as a detailed explanation about why Mayor Nickelsâ€™ plan was legally unsound, but it also demonstrates why Washingtonâ€™s preemption statute is a monument to legislative wisdom. Washingtonâ€™s law has been duplicated by more than two dozen other state legislatures that saw the sensibility of statewide uniformity in the regulation of firearms, so that cities and counties could not create a confusing and even contradictory legal patchwork of local gun ordinances.
â€œThis opinion should also have a spill-over effect on local ordinances banning firearms in parks and other municipal property and buildings in cities like Federal Way, Lacey and in the Seattle City Library,â€ Waldron said.
Gottlieb noted, â€œWe have a law, and it works. It recognizes the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms as affirmed in both the state and federal constitutions. Mayor Nickels was wrong to think he could usurp legislative authority through executive edict. We expect state lawmakers to zealously protect their authority if Nickels comes lobbying in Olympia in January.â€