Case uncovered as part of a sweep of 25 retailers across the state
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced a consumer protection lawsuit against Federal Way Discount Guns and its owner, Mohammed Reza Baghai, for illegally selling high-capacity magazines despite the ban on such products in our state. Ferguson is also seeking an injunction that would block the store from selling high-capacity magazines. The defendants face a maximum penalty of $7,500 every time the store offered a high-capacity magazine for sale and $7,500 every time it illegally sold a high-capacity magazine.
The lawsuit follows a statewide sweep of gun dealers conducted by investigators in Ferguson’s office. Attorney General investigators visited 25 firearms retailers across Washington to confirm that the retailers were complying with the new law by attempting to purchase the unlawful magazines. Only two retailers did not comply, including Federal Way Discount Guns. The investigation into the other retailer is ongoing.
This is Ferguson’s first enforcement of the high-capacity magazine sales ban. Washington adopted the ban this year by passing Attorney General Ferguson’s legislation.
“Our sweep confirmed that the overwhelming majority of gun retailers in Washington are doing the right thing and complying with the law,” Ferguson said. “In contrast, Federal Way Discount Guns chose to violate a law that makes our communities safer. We will continue to proactively enforce this law, and take action against anyone who illegally sells high-capacity magazines.”
Ferguson filed the consumer protection lawsuit in King County Superior Court and will imminently be filing a motion for preliminary injunction to block the store from selling any more high-capacity magazines and requiring the destruction or return of any remaining products. A hearing on the preliminary injuction motion is set to be scheduled for December 22.
In order to grant the state’s request, the judge must find that Ferguson is likely to prevail in his case against the store.
Anyone who suspects a store is selling high-capacity magazines can alert our office by filing a complaint at www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.
AGO investigators purchased high-capacity magazines over the counter
The Attorney General’s investigators visited a variety of gun retailers in counties across the state: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Yakima, Kittitas, Benton and Spokane.
From August to November of this year, investigators visited Federal Way Discount Guns four separate times to purchase high-capacity magazines. The investigators found a wall of dozens of high-capacity magazines openly displayed for sale. During each sale made to Attorney General’s staff, the sales clerk destroyed the record of the sale or made comments to the investigator indicating they knew the sale of the magazines was unlawful.
In one instance, a sales clerk told an investigator that “it’s the nature of the beast” but that he couldn’t provide a receipt because the magazines held “more than 10 rounds.” The sales clerk then crumpled up the sales receipt that was automatically generated from the cash register and threw it in the garbage.
During another visit, the store’s owner, Baghai, personally sold a 30-round magazine for an AR-15 style rifle and a 33-round magazine for a Glock 17 pistol to the investigator and threw the store copy of the receipt into the garbage.
Investigators were able to purchase nine high-capacity magazines from the store over the course of these visits:
As of July 2022, it is illegal under Washington state law to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Any violation of the high-capacity magazine ban also constitutes a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.
Ferguson’s lawsuit against Federal Way Discount Guns and its owner asserts the company violated the Consumer Protection Act when it sold these magazines, knowing that the sales were unlawful. The lawsuit asks the court to:
The law prohibits the sale, attempted sale, manufacture and distribution of high-capacity magazines. It does not prohibit the possession of high-capacity magazines, instead focusing prospectively on the supply side.
The evidence that this policy saves lives is overwhelming. One 2019 study from the American Journal of Public Health found that states without high-capacity magazine bans have double the amount of high-fatality mass shootings compared to those that do have bans.
Ferguson started pursuing this legislative reform in 2016. On July 30, 2016, a 19-year-old used an assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine to kill three students and seriously wound a fourth. In September 2016, Ferguson stood beside parents of shooting victims, legislators, mayors, police chiefs, and representatives of the faith community and vowed to continue proposing legislation to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines every year until it passed.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org
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