Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Federal Way Discount Guns and the store owner, Mohammed Reza Baghai, for reportedly selling illegal high-capacity magazines and is seeking an injunction to block the store from selling high-capacity magazines. Washington adopted the ban on high-capacity magazines in July.
The consumer protection lawsuit, announced Dec. 7, means the defendants face a maximum penalty of $7,500 every time the store offered a high-capacity magazine for sale and $7,500 for each time a high-capacity magazine was illegally sold.
As part of a statewide sweep of firearm dealers by Ferguson’s office, investigators visited 25 gun retailers across Washington in recent months to confirm if the stores were complying with the new law.
“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.”
Federal Way Discount Guns is located at 1404 South 324th Street and is also home to an indoor shooting range. The Mirror has reached out to the store for comment.
On the store’s Instagram account, the company wrote on Dec. 7: “We are in the crosshairs of the WA AG. We will fight this until the end and are going to need your support in doing so. Business will continue as usual. We are committed to serving the people of this state and nation, NOT the state.”
Between August to November of this year, investigators visited Federal Way Discount Guns four separate times to purchase high-capacity magazines, according to the attorney general’s office.
The investigators reportedly found dozens of high-capacity magazines openly displayed on a wall for sale. During each sale made to attorney general’s staff, the sales clerk allegedly destroyed the record of the sale or made comments to the investigator indicating they knew the sale of the magazines was unlawful. The attorney general’s office claims a sales clerk told an investigator that “it’s the nature of the beast” but that the salesperson couldn’t provide a receipt because the magazines held “more than 10 rounds.” The sales clerk reportedly then crumpled up the sales receipt and threw it in the garbage.
During another visit, the store’s owner, Baghai, allegedly 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 also reportedly threw the store copy of the receipt into the garbage.
Over the course of these visits, investigators were reportedly able to purchase eight high-capacity magazines from the store including a 50-round drum magazine, two 30-round magazines for an AR-15 style rifle, a 33-round magazine for a Glock 17 pistol, a 22-round Glock pistol magazine, a 19-round magazine for a Glock 19 pistol, a 17-round magazine for a Glock 17 pistol, a 17-round magazine for a Glock 19 pistol and a 17-round magazine for a Sig Sauer P229 pistol.
The Federal Way Police Department has used the store’s indoor gun range for training in the past, and department officials say the department will continue to train at the site.
“The fact that the indoor range is within the city limits enhances our operational readiness by keeping officers in the city and available for calls for service, while greatly reducing the travel expenses incurred for firearms training outside the city,” said Cmdr. Kurt Schwan of Federal Way Police. “We utilize the facilities throughout the year for department-wide training, one on one training with an instructor, and individual firearms practice.”
Ferguson filed the consumer protection lawsuit in King County Superior Court and will soon file 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.
In order to grant the state’s request, the judge must find that Ferguson is likely to prevail in his case against the store.
Washington law states it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, as of July this year. 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 permanently block the store from selling high-capacity magazines, require the store to destroy its high-capacity magazine inventory or return them to the manufacturer, forfeit all profits it made from unlawfully selling high-capacity magazines and pay penalties under the Consumer Protection Act.
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.