Washington state’s high-capacity magazine ban headed to state Supreme Court

SEATTLE — There has been a lot of back and forth in just the last couple of days over Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban.

On Monday, a Cowlitz County judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional.

However, within a couple of hours, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, filed an emergency stay that was granted by the State Supreme Court, keeping the ban in place.

“We made an announcement on Facebook that we were going to be open because of the injunction and we were swarmed!” Wally Wentz, the owner of Gators Custom Guns, in Kelso, said.

Wentz is at the center of this case because he was sued by the attorney general’s office back in 2022.

“That decision from the lower court judge is just completely contrary to where judges all across the country have been which is upholding bans on the sale of high-capacity magazines,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Ferguson said that Wentz continued to sell guns that hold ten or more bullets, after the ban went into effect.

“They purchased thousands of high-capacity magazines and sold some to our investigator who went to the store on two different occasions,” Ferguson said.

Wentz said he wasn’t surprised the court granted the stay but is more shocked by how quickly it all happened. He said customers came in immediately when the ban was temporarily lifted.

“They’re still coming in this morning thinking they only got the first part that we got the ruling in our favor and there was a statewide injunction, but they didn’t follow the bouncing ball to the—in my opinion—deception or behind closed doors fast track,” Wentz said.

Zach Pechalis, who represents the Alliance for Gun Responsibly, said this type of ban isn’t about limiting second amendment rights but directed toward mass shootings.

“We know that mass shooters overwhelmingly choose assault rifles and large capacity magazines and that’s true of the Uvalde shooting that took the lives on 19 children,” Pechalis said.

Oral arguments for this case will begin on April 17


and a ruling from the state Supreme Court will come down some time after that.