Lawsuit against large capacity magazine ban names Sheriff Scott and Judge Svoboda

A lawsuit that looks to prevent Washington’s ban on the sale and manufacture of large-capacity magazines from taking effect has been filed against Grays Harbor Sheriff Rick Scott, Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge Katie Svoboda, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and others.

The lawsuit by Gabriella Sullivan, Rainier Arms, LLC, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. was filed in U.S. District Court on Friday.

In court paperwork, the plaintiffs seek an injunction to prevent Senate Bill 5078 from taking effect on July 1 and they are “compelling Defendants to refrain from enforcing the invalid ban”.

The bill would place the ban on manufacturing, importing, distributing, selling, or offering for sale ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Violating the “large capacity magazine” ban would be a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

The plaintiffs allege that this violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

“The State of Washington has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right of self-defense. By banning manufacturing, importation, distribution, and sale of standard-capacity firearm magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition (“standard capacity magazines”), the State has barred law-abiding residents from legally acquiring common ammunition magazines and deprived them of an effective means of self-defense.” 

Grays Harbor County Sheriff Scott, Judge Svoboda, listed as Prosecutor in the paperwork, and other defendants are included due to their responsibility to arrest or charge individuals who violate the ban.

In the document it notes Grays Harbor resident Daniel Martin, who is a member of two of the groups listed as defendants, and who owns several of the magazines being proposed in the ban. Martin competes in shooting competitions and “commonly” uses the magazines in the ban, which would be unavailable for competition or personal use as of July 1. 

The lawsuit says that if this law moves forward, it would not only violate the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms, but would also have no “realistic prospect of diminishing the misuse of firearms or the incidence of horrific mass-shootings.”

“All it will do is leave law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to attack from better-armed and more ruthless assailants.“

The lawsuit acknowledges a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit court that rejected an amendment challenge to similar restrictions in California, Duncan v. Bonta, 19 F.4th 1087 (9th Cir. 2021), but they say that the plaintiffs say they believe that case was wrongfully decided.

The lawsuit claims that the definition of ‘large capacity magazines’ is a misnomer, and that these size magazines are in fact a normal feature, citing historical references, and instead should be described as “standard capacity magazines”.

“As many as half a billion of these standard-capacity magazines have been owned by Americans throughout the United States.“

The plaintiffs state specific portions of the U.S. Constitution that they say would be violated if the rules are enacted, citing other court cases involving firearms. They state that “Outright bans on manufacturing, importing, selling, or offering for sale commonly possessed magazines violate the Second Amendment by prohibiting all Washington residents from acquiring those magazines and firearms equipped with them and therefore denying them the fundamental right to keep and bear arms”.

The lawsuit asks that the law be stricken for going against both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, that authorities should be prohibited from enforcing the related laws, grant relief damages be given to the defendants and court costs, and “Grant any and all other equitable and/or legal remedies as this Court may see fit.”.


Sullivan et al v. Ferguson et al