Legal Action Fights WA AR-15 Owner Names Release

bump stock buyback in Washington, Guy J. Sagi, Fear & Loading, Raeford North Carolina, AR-15 gun owners names to be released

AR-15 owners in Washington State who participated in a “bump stock” buyback conducted by the Washington State Police (WSP)—whose names and addresses, as we reported, would have been released on April 26 in response to a pair of public information requests—can breathe a little easier this week, thanks to a motion for a temporary restraining order and show cause hearing filed April 22 by Steve Clark of the Crary, Clark, Domanico & Chuang, PS, law firm. John Doe is the listed plaintiff. The move stalls releasing the personal information, although the final decision is now in the hands of Superior Court in Spokane, WA.

State officials issued a letter on April 11 addressed to gun owners who turned in their “bump stock” devices—in exchange for a $150 voucher—explaining their personal information could be released on April 26 unless an injunction was filed. Copies of the two Freedom of Information Act requests were included and late yesterday we received them. One states, “I seek to obtain the names and addresses where checks will be mailed for the bump stock buy back program. My intent is to create a searchable database and map of Washington state to overlay the locations. The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that the [sic] live in and who has previously owned such devices.” [Copy of the note above, with contact info redacted by our team]

The second was a request for copies of WSP policies and procedures in the handling and storage of the documents and the information provided. This person was also interested in volume of participants, makes/manufacturers of turned-in items, disposition of them after the event and documents created before, during or after.

Forms completed during the turn-in required participants to provide their name and address where the vouchers would be mailed.

Washington bump stock buyback, Guy J. Sagi, Fear and Loading, Raeford NC

The motion for a temporary restraining filed by Clark explains to the court, “The release of these records would open him up to potential political harassment, physical harassment, and theft. If these records are released, it has a strong potential to substantially and irreparably damage both Plaintiff Doe 1 and anyone else whose records are released.” It also cautions residents will be less likely to participate in any similar programs in the future if their personal information is at risk.