Gun control group allowed to sign on as defendent in lawsuit

Gun control group allowed to sign on as defendent in lawsuit
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

In Washington state, there’s a lawsuit going on. Its purpose is to challenge the state’s magazine restriction law, and in the aftermath of Bruen, it seems likely the measure will fall.

The lawsuit, as all such lawsuits challenging gun control laws do, is against the state itself. After all, they’re the ones with the law.

Yet a new player has entered the arena to white knight for the state of Washington.

A billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group based in Seattle has been allowed by a federal judge in Tacoma to join a lawsuit challenging Washington State’s ban on the future sale, manufacture or importation of so-called “large capacity” magazines for rifles and pistols…as a defendant.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility, an anti-gun group responsible for bankrolling gun control initiatives in Washington in 2014 (I-594) and 2018 (I-1639), was allowed to join the lawsuit—filed in June by the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners—by U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo. He is the recently-seated chief district judge who last month set a trial date for this magazine ban case as Dec. 4, 2023. This stunning date was first revealed by Ammoland News on Sept. 27.

As noted by SAF, the Alliance motion was supported by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and State Patrol Chief John Batiste, who are defendants in the case. The Alliance supported the magazine ban as part of its gun prohibition legislative agenda for 2022, and Ferguson requested the legislation earlier this year.

So yeah, a gun control group is volunteering to be sued, basically.

But that kind of makes sense. It’s not like they’re going to be out any additional money if they lose, since that’s not what the lawsuit is about.

Of course, the Second Amendment Foundation phrased things perfectly:

Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, made light of the anti-gun group’s eagerness to join the lawsuit as a defendant.

“Apparently, the Alliance is worried Ferguson isn’t capable of defending his own magazine ban in this lawsuit,” Gottlieb said. “Obviously, after the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision last June, the gun ban lobby fears the state may not be able to defend any of its gun laws, including a couple passed by initiative campaigns the Alliance financed.”

Boom.

Honestly, it tickles me to no end.

Especially because Gottlieb is right. There’s absolutely no way this happens if the Alliance isn’t scared that Ferguson won’t win. If they had trust in the process, they’d do like they normally do and let him defend the law.

However, they have a reason to be afraid.

The text and history standard laid out in Bruen requires governments to defend gun control laws by illustrating how a similar law existed around the time of the Second Amendment’s passage. That doesn’t leave much on the table, but there are a few things, as we’ve seen in the past, but not a lot.

One would be hard-pressed to find a law from the era that would correspond to a magazine ban. Sure, some of that may have had something to do with the fact that detachable gun magazines weren’t really a thing, but repeating weapons were and there was no effort in place to restrict that.

So, the magazine ban is probably going to fail sooner or later, and even the Alliance trying to swoop in to the rescue isn’t likely to change that.