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Gun store to pay $3 million for illegally selling high-capacity magazines

SEATTLE—Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on February 6 that Federal Way Discount Guns and its owner, Mohammed Baghai, will pay $3 million for violating Washington’s prohibition on selling high-capacity magazines with the capacity to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.

King County Superior Court Judge Wyman Yip already ruled in April that Federal Way Discount Guns and Baghai violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act by selling high-capacity magazines after a state law went into effect prohibiting their sale. Today’s consent decree, filed in King County Superior Court, resolves the remainder of the case.

Bob Ferguson
2020 Legislative Agenda Press Conference of Attorney General Bob Ferguson announcing he will propose a package of legislation to combat mass shootings in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee, a longtime supporter of gun safety measures, is joining Ferguson for the first time to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

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

Ferguson’s investigation found that the store sold 3,625 high-capacity magazines between the date the law went into effect — July 1, 2022 — and when Ferguson filed his lawsuit later that year. During that timeframe, the store also displayed large numbers of high-capacity magazines for public sale, which is also against the law. The store continued to illegally sell high-capacity magazines for a month after the suit was filed. It sold another 246 high-capacity magazines before Ferguson then won a preliminary injunction barring Federal Way Discount Guns from continuing to sell them.

high-capacity magazines
SOURCE: Federal Way Discount Guns

Federal Way Discount Guns has 30 days to pay the $3 million fine. The Attorney General’s Office expended approximately $1 million to investigate and litigate this case. Ferguson will dedicate the remaining $2 million to local law enforcement agencies to support efforts to reduce gun violence.

The consent decree also bars Federal Way Discount Guns and its owners or employees from selling, offering for sale, or facilitating the distribution of high-capacity magazines in the future.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Baghai sold Federal Way Discount Guns to his son, Andrew. Baghai and his wife have retired to Nevada, where they have real estate holdings, according to court filings.

Baghai has significant real estate holdings, including the land under Federal Way Discount Guns, as well as investment properties in Washington and Nevada, according to court filings. Baghai recently sold a number of real estate assets, netting more than $5.3 million, filings state. His properties in Nevada are worth more than $5 million.

Filed lawsuit in December of 2022

Ferguson filed the lawsuit in December of 2022 against Baghai and his store for illegally selling high-capacity magazines in violation of the ban on the sale of such products in Washington.

As of July 2022, it is illegal under Washington state law to manufacture, distribute, sell or offer for sale magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Any violation of the high-capacity magazine ban also constitutes a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

high-capacity magazines
SB 5078 signing to limit the sale of high-capacity firearm magazines at the Washington state Capitol Building in Olympia on March 23, 2022.

The Federal Way case was part of a larger sweep conducted by Attorney General’s Office investigators, who visited a variety of gun retailers in counties across the state: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Yakima, Kittitas, Benton and Spokane.

Over a four month period, investigators visited Federal Way Discount Guns four separate times to purchase high-capacity magazines. The investigators discovered that the store openly displayed dozens of high-capacity magazines for sale. During each sale made to an Attorney General investigator, the sales clerk destroyed the sales receipt or made comments to the investigator indicating they knew the sale of the magazines was unlawful.

In one instance, a sales clerk told an investigator that “it’s the nature of the beast” but that he couldn’t provide a receipt because the magazines held “more than 10 rounds.” The sales clerk then crumpled up the sales receipt that was automatically generated from the cash register and threw it in the garbage.

During another visit, the store’s owner, Baghai, personally 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 threw the store copy of the receipt into the garbage.

Investigators were able to purchase nine high-capacity magazines from the store over the course of these visits:

  • 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
  • a 17-round magazine for a Sig Sauer P229 pistol

Through the litigation, Ferguson also learned that they sold these magazines after being warned by multiple firearm distributors that it was unlawful to sell them in Washington.

After filing the lawsuit, Ferguson won a preliminary injunction forcing Federal Way Discount Guns and Baghai to stop selling high-capacity magazines, as the store had continued to offer them for sale. The court later found the store and Baghai in contempt of court for failing to securely store his remaining stock of illegal magazines and provide the Attorney General’s Office with an accurate inventory, as the court instructed. Instead, Baghai claimed he returned his remaining high-capacity magazines to distributors without providing any notice or documentation.

In April of last year, King County Superior Court Judge Wyman Yip ruled Baghai and Federal Way Discount Guns had violated the law. Today’s settlement resolves the remainder of the case.

First litigation enforcing high-capacity magazine sales ban

The lawsuit against Federal Way Discount Guns was Ferguson’s first litigation to enforce the high-capacity magazine sales ban.

The Attorney General’s statewide sweep of gun retailers also led to $15,000 in penalties for Lakewood-based gun retailer WGS Guns, after the store intentionally violated the law. Attorney General’s Office investigators found the store unlawfully sold two high-capacity magazines approximately two months after the ban went into effect, then complied with the law later in the investigation.

Ferguson filed an assurance of discontinuance, a resolution that also required WGS Guns to remove the high-capacity magazines from its website and stop fulfilling online orders for them.

Ferguson has since filed a lawsuit against Kelso-based Gator’s Guns. Gator’s continued selling high-capacity magazines — potentially thousands — after the law went into effect. The lawsuit asserts the retailer intentionally violated the Consumer Protection Act when it unlawfully offered 11,408 high-capacity magazines for sale to the public.

The lawsuit against Gator’s Guns is ongoing in Cowlitz County Superior Court.

Federal and state courts have repeatedly upheld laws limiting magazine capacity. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions upholding these laws to stand.

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.


SOURCE: Office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson

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