By: José Niño
Back in July 2022, Washington resident Michael Brumback joined gun store Gimme Guns in filing a lawsuit against Washington state for its passage of Senate Bill 5078 — a law that prohibited the sale or transfer of standard capacity magazines holding over ten rounds.
The aim of Brumback’s lawsuit was to obtain a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the magazine prohibition.
However, a federal judge recently rejected the injunction request.
On November 23, 2022, District Court Judge Mary Dimke presided over arguments about the case. President Joe Biden appointed her to the court back in 2021.
“If the Court is to declare ESSB 5078 unconstitutional, it will not do so lightly. Injunctive relief is ‘an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief,’” the judge declared in her ruling.
Brumback initially attempted to buy a 30-round magazine at two gun stores in 2022. However, due to Washington’s magazine ban, he could not acquire this accessory due to the 2022 law banning the transfer of capacity magazines. He ended up going to Gimme Guns for a last chance to obtain the magazine. Although the gun store had the magazines in stock, the transactions could not be realized because of the new law.
Consequently, he and the gun store filed a lawsuit against the state in the Eastern District of Washington federal court in July 2022. The aim of this lawsuit was to receive a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the magazine prohibition.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contended that Washington state’s prohibition of magazines goes against the Second Amendment’s text, tradition, and history.
Due to the Supreme Court’s decision in the New York State Rifle & Pistol case, the states can no longer use interest balancing in upholding gun control laws. The defendants contended that standard capacity magazines, which the Washington state government classifies as large capacity magazines, are dangerous and unusual. Furthermore, the defendants argued, ironically, using the precedent established by the District of Columbia v. Heller decision that the government can prohibit dangerous and “unusual” weapons.
The judge did not believe that magazines fall under Second Amendment safeguards. “At present, the evidence in the record is insufficient to establish that Plaintiffs are likely to prove that large capacity magazines fall within the Second Amendment right. The instant decision is primarily the result of Plaintiffs’ insufficient evidentiary showing and should not be read to preclude a contrary finding at a trial on the merits. It is pertinent to note, however, that no party, at this stage, has demonstrated a historical record adequately supporting their respective positions on the question of whether the Second Amendment covers large capacity magazines,” Judge Dimke said in her opinion.
While the courts have delivered several victories for the Second Amendment, they’re just as capable of upholding unconstitutional gun control laws and even infringing on gun rights. Ultimately, gun owners must take a multi-pronged approach to their activism — legislative lobbying, electioneering, litigation, etc. — to advance a pro-gun agenda most effectively.
Putting all our eggs in one basket is not an option in this existential struggle to restore the right to bear arms.