A King County judge has ordered a Federal Way gun shop owner sued in December by the state attorney general to stop unlawfully selling high-capacity magazines banned last year by the state Legislature.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Federal Way Discount Guns and its owner for selling the high-capacity magazines despite the ban. On Friday, King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott granted Ferguson's motion for preliminary injunction against the shop and its owner.
"The overwhelming majority of gun retailers in Washington are doing the right thing and complying with the law," Ferguson said in a statement Friday. "Federal Way Discount Guns is choosing to violate the law and fight our case. Today's court order makes it clear that following the law is not optional."
Federal Way Discount Guns declined to comment.
The shop owner, Mohammed Reza Baghai, faces a maximum penalty of $7,500 for every time his store offered a high-capacity magazine and another $7,500 for every time it illegally sold one, according to an attorney general's office news release.
The lawsuit asks the court to require the store destroy its high-capacity magazines or return them to the manufacturer, and forfeit profits made from selling high-capacity magazines.
Senate Bill 5078 went into effect July 1, 2022, prohibiting the manufacture, import, distribution and sale of magazines with over ten rounds. The legislation provides limited exemptions to some licensed firearm manufacturers and dealers who sell to armed forces branches or law enforcement agencies, or plan to take weapons out of state.
The lawsuit came after investigators from the attorney general's office visited several gun retailers across the state — including in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — to try and purchase high-capacity magazines. The investigators visited Federal Way Discount Guns on four separate occasions between August and November, according to the attorney general's office.
Dozens of high-capacity magazines were on display for purchase, officials said. During each sale, the clerk destroyed the sales record or made comments indicating they knew the sale was unlawful, according to the attorney general's office.
The store owner in one instance sold a high-capacity magazine to an investigator, officials said.
The Legislature passed Washington's ban on high-capacity magazines after considering, among other things, a 2019 study from the American Journal of Public Health, which found that states without high-capacity magazine bans have double the amount of fatal mass shootings than states with such bans.
Washington legislators pursued banning the sale of high-capacity magazines as early as 2016, after a 19-year-old in Mukilteo killed three students and wounded a fourth with an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine.
A Lakewood gun retailer was ordered to pay $15,000 in December for violating the state's high-capacity magazine sales ban.