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Federal judge dismisses suit challenging Washington gun law
Federal judge dismisses suit challenging Washington gun law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] on Thursday dismissed [order, PDF] a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring universal background checks for all gun transfers, including noncommercial, online or gun show sales. In November voters passed Initiative 594 [text, PDF] with 59 percent of the vote. The suit [complaint, PDF], brought fourth by several Washington-based companies and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) [advocacy website], argued that the law is too vague for ordinary people to understand and infringes on citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Judge Benjamin Settle threw out the case because the plaintiffs did not have standing, saying that they could not challenge the law because they have not been prosecuted for violating it and have not shown an immediate threat of prosecution.

The Second Amendment [JURIST backgrounder] and gun control have been controversial political issues in the US in recent years. Earlier this month Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law [JURIST report] a bill that creates new restrictions on who may own guns in the state. In February a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas [official website] ruled that the ban on interstate handgun sales by federal firearm dealers is unconstitutional [JURIST report]. SAF filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in February challenging the District of Columbia’s right to deny concealed carry permits to individuals for failure to show good cause. The National Rifle Association [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in January against the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, alleging local gun laws violate a state law that restricts local regulation of firearms and ammunition. Last November a group of California gun dealers filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in federal court challenging a state law that limits their right to advertise.