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Washington gun shop and its former owner to pay $3 million for selling high-capacity ammo magazines

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A suburban Seattle gun shop and its former owner will pay $3 million for selling high-capacity ammunition magazines despite a state ban, the Washington attorney general said Tuesday.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the settlement with Federal Way Discount Guns and Mohammed Baghai after a King County judge found last year that the store and former owner were in violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

The store and Baghai sold thousands of the magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, after the state law banning them went into effect in 2022, Ferguson has said.

Ferguson said the former owner kept selling them even after the state filed a lawsuit. The attorney general described the violations as “egregious and brazen,” The Seattle Times reported.

“Federal Way Discount Guns chose to violate a critical law aimed at combating mass shootings,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Washington businesses are following the law and stopped selling high-capacity magazines. This resolution provides accountability for someone who flagrantly violated the law.”

A person who answered the phone at Federal Way Discount Guns declined to comment to The Seattle Times. Baghai also declined to comment Tuesday when reached by phone by the newspaper. Since the lawsuit, the store has been sold to Baghai’s son, Andrew, according to the attorney general’s office.

The store’s website includes a link to a fundraising page seeking “donations that will help us to continue to stand up against Bob Ferguson and his team’s aggression as they relentlessly go after our 2nd amendment rights.”

Since July 2022, it has been illegal under Washington state law to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with limited exceptions. Supporters of the bill said at the time the law could reduce the carnage seen in mass shootings because people could have the chance to escape or stop a shooter in the time it takes to reload the weapon.

The shop had argued in King County Superior Court filings that Baghai didn’t brazenly disregard the ban and instead listened to law enforcement officials who told him the ban was unconstitutional and, therefore, wouldn’t be enforced.

The Federal Way Discount Guns case was the first lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office over violations of the law. A similar lawsuit against Gator’s Custom Guns, based in Kelso, Washington, is ongoing. Lakewood retailer WGS Guns was penalized $15,000 for violating the law in 2022.

Under Tuesday’s consent decree, Federal Way Discount Guns and Baghai have agreed to pay $3 million. The attorney general’s office will recoup about $1 million it spent litigating the case, while Ferguson said he expected the remaining $2 million will go to local law enforcement agencies for efforts that reduce gun violence.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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