Judge Says Washington’s Restrictions On Gun Magazine Capacity Are Unconstitutional
TINLEY PARK, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 11: High capacity rifle magazines are removed from display at Freddie Bear Sports on January 11, 2023 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Yesterday evening, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation banning the sale of rifle magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and pistol magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds as well as several guns classified as assault weapons. The Illinois State Rifle Association, citing 2.5 million gun owners in the state, has vowed to fight the legislation in court. Eight other states and Washington D.C. have enacted similar bans.
Credit: Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

A judge in Washington ruled that the state’s ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is unconstitutional, but the state Supreme Court granted an emergency appeal to pause the judge’s decision, meaning the restriction stays in effect for now.

On Monday, Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Gary Bashor ruled in favor of a Washington gun shop that sued the state after lawmakers banned magazines holding more than 10 rounds in 2022. Bashor rejected the state’s arguments that the magazines were not suitable for self-defense and that the legislation was common sense. 

“This Court must find there exists no set of facts where the Court can find such a generalized ban or restriction on an am (or an instrument that facilitates self-defense) as constitutional under the Washington Constitution,” Bashor wrote in his 55-page decision. “The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist to define the outer limits of what Legislatures and Courts are allowed to do. Amending the Constitution and Bill of Rights cannot be done simply by enacting a law, or by a pronouncement from a Court.”

Bashor added that he found that large capacity magazines (LCMS) are classified as arms under the State Constitution and that members of the public commonly owned them for lawful purposes. 

“The State has not provided evidence that LCMs are NOT commonly and lawfully owned or possessed by civilians for lawful purposes, including self-defense. The State: instead chose to provide expert opinions concluding only that LCMs are not commonly ‘fired for self-defense purposes’, or are not the best choice for self-defense, neither of which are relevant metrics,” he wrote. 

Bashor, who has been a judge in the rural county since 2011, also pointed to the Founding Fathers in his decision. 

“There was no appetite to limit gun rights by the Founders. Though the specific technology available today may not have been envisioned, the Founders expected technological advancements,” Bashor wrote. “The result is few, if any, historical analogue laws by which a state can justify a modern firearms regulation.”

After Bashor’s ruling, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, filed an emergency appeal before the state’s high court, arguing magazine capacity limits are constitutional. 


“Every court in Washington and across the country to consider challenges to a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines under the U.S. or Washington Constitution has either rejected that challenge or been overruled. This law is constitutional,” Ferguson said. 

Washington State Supreme Court Commissioner Michael Johnston sided with Ferguson, keeping the law in effect while the appeal continued. 

The magazine restriction was one of the many gun control policies adopted in recent years by Washington’s Democratic-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, including a ban on the sale of AR-15s and similar rifles.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Judge Says Washington’s Restrictions On Gun Magazine Capacity Are Unconstitutional