Mahoney v. City of Seattle - Ninth Circuit

Headline: The City of Seattle’s “Use of Force Policy” does not violate the Seattle Police Department’s police officers’ Second Amendment right to use department-issued firearms for the “core lawful purpose of self-defense.”

Areas of Law: Constitutional Law; Civil Rights

Issues Presented: Whether the Seattle Police Department’s police officers’ Second Amendment right to use department-issued firearms for the “core lawful purpose of self-defense” is violated by the City of Seattle’s “Use of Force Policy.”

Brief Summary: The Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the district court’s holding that the City of Seattle’s “Use of Force Policy” does not violate the Seattle Police Department’s police officers’ Second Amendment Right to use department-issued firearms for the “core lawful purpose self-defense.” Approximately one hundred and twenty-five police officers from Seattle’s Police Department filed suit against the City of Seattle alleging their Second Amendment right was violated by the City of Seattle’s “Use of Force Policy.” The Ninth Circuit panel applied a two-step inquiry and found the “Use of Force Policy” did not impose a substantial burden on the Second Amendment right to use a firearm for the core lawful purpose of self-defense. Because the “Use of Force Policy” did not impose a substantial burden, the panel applied the intermediate scrutiny test and concluded that the City of Seattle has a substantial interest in ensuring the safety of the public and its police officers. The “Use of Force Policy” permits the de-escalation of unnecessary force and prevents police officers from engaging in practices which would violate constitutional rights of citizens. Further, there is a reasonable fit between the City of Seattle’s interest and ensuring the safety of the public and police officers. Therefore, the “Use of Force Policy” is constitutional.

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