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Thread: Washington Preemption Statute and State Agencies: The verdict

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    To finalize the argument of whether or not the preemption statute includes state agencies or not.
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    Aaron,

    The short answer is no—the preemption statute does not apply to state agencies. A state agency could not, however, criminalize the possession of firearms– the Legislature would have to do that. Although it’s not possible to predict how a court would view specific agency rules limiting firearms, there are certainly examples where agencies have done so. I am pasting a longer explanation from staff that provides some case history and examples that may be of interest to you.

    Sincerely,
    Rachel
    _________________________________________
    Rachel Smith
    Legislative Assistant to Rep. Dave Upthegrove
    Phone: (360) 786-7868
    Webpage: http://hdc.leg.wa.gov/members/upthegrove/index.asp
    Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000


    The preemption section, by its own terms, applies only to local jurisdictions. Under the state constitution, local jurisdictions have the authority to adopt and enforce public safety and health laws unless in conflict with the general laws of the state. RCW 9.41.290 expresses the Legislature's intent to limit the authority of local jurisdictions to pass firearms laws. Although this preemption language is fairly broad, in two cases the Washington Supreme Court has upheld local firearms policies or regulations against a challenge that they were preempted by RCW 9.41.290. In the first case, Cherry v. Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, 116 Wn.2d 794 (1991), the Court held that RCW 9.41.290 is not preemptive of the authority of a municipal employer to regulate or prohibit a municipal employee's possession of firearms while on the job or in the workplace. The Court determined that the Legislature, by adopting the preemption statute, intended to eliminate a multiplicity of local criminal laws relating to firearms and to advance uniformity in criminal firearms regulation, and that the "laws and ordinances" preempted are laws of application to the general public, not internal rules for employee conduct. In a more recent case, Pacific Northwest Shooting Park Association v. City of Sequim, 158 Wn.2d 342 (2006), the Court upheld the authority of the city of Sequim to impose conditions on the sale of firearms at a gun show being held in the city's convention center. The conditions imposed by the city were a part of a permit for private use of its property, and were not laws or regulations of application to the general public.

    State agencies are generally given the authority to adopt rules to administer their programs. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has adopted a rule that generally prohibits the discharge of firearms in upland state park areas (WAC 352-32-120). Many universities and colleges have adopted rules prohibiting possession of firearms on campuses, and other state agencies have adopted rules prohibiting firearms in certain places (e.g., Office of Administrative Hearings facilities, facilities operated by the Washington State School for the Blind or School for the Deaf, grounds of horse racing associations, and licensed child care centers). I am not aware of any legal challenges to these rules. As to whether or not the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission could adopt a rule prohibiting possession of firearms on state parks, I do not know whether a challenge to the rule would be upheld.



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    But I'm not a state park employee or have I entered into a business agreement with the state park dept.

    I'm no genius, but I am a thinker. Maybe we need less geniuses and more thinkers.

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    Well if it said, " No firearms for employees".

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    NavyLT wrote:
    So they can post a no firearms sign that has the same weight as a private business no firearms sign.* :X
    No. The Sequim decision specifically stated that the critical point of the ruling is that the rule did not apply to the general public. Neither of those cases deal with a state agency restricting firearms carried by the general public.

    There still is not a definitive answer.
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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Yea I don't see that as a definitive answer either. And I have no problems at L&I was asked if it was legal at State department of employment I said yes and they have said anything to me after that either.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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    Very interesting. Here's a new email I received

    The WA Supreme Court is not exempt from RCW 9.41.300 and there is a WAC, WAC 236-12-470 that prohibits a person from carrying a firearm on the capitol grounds or into any building located on the capitol grounds, including the WA Supreme Court.

    As we discussed, the language of RCW 9.41.300 provides that a person visiting a court with a concealed pistol license shall be provided with a place to store his or her weapon or the court shall designate a person with whom the person can safely leave his or her weapon. I was hoping to provide the constituent with the information regarding with whom he could leave his weapon when visiting the WA Supreme Court. Unfortunately, I was not able to get this information. The WSP has indicated that a person visiting the WA Supreme Court should leave his or her firearm locked in his or her car.

    Below is the text of the WAC I mentioned prohibiting weapons on campus.

    _____________________________________________


    WAC 236-12-470 Prohibiting access to state capitol buildings and grounds while armed with dangerous weapons or with devices used to disrupt state business.(1) No person shall carry any firearm or other dangerous weapon as described in chapter 9.41 RCW on the state capitol grounds or in any building on the state capitol grounds: Provided, That this regulation shall not apply to duly authorized federal, state, and local law enforcement officers or to any federal, state, and local government employee authorized to carry firearms in the course of their public employment; and: Provided, That a person may carry a firearm in accordance with chapter 9.41 RCW.

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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Very interesting. Here's a new email I received

    The WA Supreme Court is not exempt from RCW 9.41.300 and there is a WAC, WAC 236-12-470 that prohibits a person from carrying a firearm on the capitol grounds or into any building located on the capitol grounds, including the WA Supreme Court.

    As we discussed, the language of RCW 9.41.300 provides that a person visiting a court with a concealed pistol license shall be provided with a place to store his or her weapon or the court shall designate a person with whom the person can safely leave his or her weapon. I was hoping to provide the constituent with the information regarding with whom he could leave his weapon when visiting the WA Supreme Court. Unfortunately, I was not able to get this information. The WSP has indicated that a person visiting the WA Supreme Court should leave his or her firearm locked in his or her car.

    Below is the text of the WAC I mentioned prohibiting weapons on campus.
    I don't care what the WSP indicates. They do not make laws, the simply enforce them.

    Aaron1124 wrote:
    WAC 236-12-470 Prohibiting access to state capitol buildings and grounds while armed with dangerous weapons or with devices used to disrupt state business. (1) No person shall carry any firearm or other dangerous weapon as described in chapter 9.41 RCW on the state capitol grounds or in any building on the state capitol grounds: Provided, That this regulation shall not apply to duly authorized federal, state, and local law enforcement officers or to any federal, state, and local government employee authorized to carry firearms in the course of their public employment; and: Provided, That a person may carry a firearm in accordance with chapter 9.41 RCW.
    That last line is what clearly points out that you can in fact carry.
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