Washington State Judge Overturns Magazine Ban

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Washington state is one of several states that has gone off the deep end with regard to gun control. While once a pretty pro-gun state, recent years have seen numerous anti-gun laws go into effect, generally via ballot initiative efforts.


One of many anti-gun efforts was a ban on so-called high-capacity magazines, or standard capacity magazines to those of us who recognize that these are the magazines that come with the guns in states without stupid regulations.

But on Monday, a judge declared the restriction unconstitutional.

A judge in Cowlitz County, Washington, declared the state's prohibition on high-capacity magazines unconstitutional on Monday. However, shortly thereafter, the state's Supreme Court intervened with an emergency order, ensuring the legislation remains effective amidst the state's appeal.

Gary Bashor, a judge at the Cowlitz County Superior Court, found that the 2022-enacted ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds infringes upon the constitutional rights safeguarded by both the state of Washington and the United States.


In his judgment against the constitutionality of the ban, Bashor referenced a 2022 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Bruen case. The ruling emphasized that gun control measures must align with the nation's longstanding tradition of firearm regulation. Bashor criticized the state for not presenting a historical precedent that could justify the current regulation, indicating that the ban and possibly other modern gun laws lack constitutional footing.

Bashor argued that the founding fathers did not intend to restrict gun rights, anticipating technological advances in firearms without foreseeing specific modern technologies. He contended that there are scarcely any historical laws that states can use to justify current firearm regulations.


Bashor issued an injunction, but the state supreme court issued a stay, meaning the ban is still technically in effect in Washington.

However, Bashor is right in his assessment, especially considering the Bruen decision. Repeating guns existed at the time, which means there's really no reason to believe that none of the Founding Fathers could have anticipated something similar to modern, repeating firearms.

And if they didn't issue limits to how many rounds a gun could have, there's not likely to be a law that justifies magazine restrictions.

That's pretty much how Bruen reads.

Of course, I've seen some...let's call them "creative" attempts at presenting past laws as justification for new restrictions as attorneys try their best to find ways to preserve anti-gun legislation in the wake of Bruen. That includes using some pretty racist laws to justify modern-day restrictions. 

As such, I can't rule out that they won't get creative yet again and try to find something that the state supreme court can hold onto in order to justify upholding this restriction. I don't know that it would survive before the U.S. Supreme Court, but there's no guarantee SCOTUS would hear it.


The trick here is going to be to see what happens next. Was the stay issued because it's likely the state would prevail, or what is issued simply to prevent an upset to the status quo before the case can be heard?

Without being a mind reader, I couldn't begin to guess. I know how they should rule, but whether the judges agree or not remains to be seen.

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