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Originally published Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:51 PM

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State Supreme Court agrees that Seattle can't itself ban guns

The State Supreme Court Thursday refused to review Seattle's ban on guns in parks and community centers, upholding two lower court rulings that the ban violated state law.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The State Supreme Court Thursday refused to review Seattle's ban on guns in parks and community centers, upholding two lower court rulings that the ban violated state law.

Gun-rights advocates praised the decision, noting state law expressly prohibits cities from adopting their own gun regulations.

Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, accused Seattle officials of trying to turn Seattle into a "Banana Republic" and a "political gulag where a civil right can be dismissed at will in the interest of political correctness."

"When you get elected officials who knowingly violate state law, who ignore the advice of the attorney general and the ruling of two lower courts, who don't really care about the rule of law, that's the definition of a Banana Republic," Gottlieb said.

The Second Amendment allows states to regulate the manner of carrying handguns. For instance, they are banned from Washington courts, jails and prisons. State law generally pre-empts local authority to adopt more restrictive firearms regulations.

A King County Superior Court judge struck down the gun ban in 2010, but Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes pursued the case, arguing that it was reasonable to ban guns from city property where children and families were likely to be.

Last year, the state Court of Appeals rejected the city's arguments and affirmed the lower court ruling that the city can't pre-empt state law.

Both McGinn and Holmes issued statements after Thursday's ruling saying the city would ask the 2013 Legislature to give cities the authority to restrict gun use in public places.

"A park is no place for a gun," McGinn said.

The Seattle gun ban was challenged by five people with legal permits to carry concealed weapons, the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Material from The Seattle Times archives was included in this report.

Lynn Thompson: 206-909-7580 or lthompson@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @lthompsontimes.

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