Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Oct 26 2017

Three-judge panel unanimously agrees with lower court, dismisses challenge

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with a lower court ruling and dismissed a challenge against Washington’s voter-approved Initiative 594, which expanded the state’s firearm background check requirements.

The plaintiffs appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit after a federal judge in Tacoma dismissed the case, Northwest School of Safety v. Ferguson, in 2015. U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge the law. Today, a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit unanimously agreed with Judge Settle’s ruling.

“Initiative 594 puts important, common-sense protections in place to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Ferguson said.

Initiative 594 passed with 59 percent of the vote in the November 2014 general election. It expands Washington’s law requiring background checks to cover all firearm purchases and transfers, with limited exceptions set forth in the Initiative.

Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Even argued the case before the Ninth Circuit. Assistant Attorney General July Simpson, Deputy Solicitor General Rebecca Glasgow and Solicitor General Noah Purcell assisted on the case.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Brionna Aho, Interim Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov