The Seattle City Council voted Monday to require gun owners to lock up their weapons or face penalties ranging between $500 and $10,000.
The actual fine depends on what happens with the weapon if an unauthorized person gets ahold of it. Under the proposal, court could assess $500 for violating the ordinance. If an unauthorized person gets a gun when the owner “knows or reasonably should know” that a minor, at-risk person or someone who cannot otherwise buy a gun could have access to it, that goes up to $1,000. The penalty increases to $10,000 if that weapon is used in a crime or to otherwise injure or kill another person.
The legislation makes a violation of this law a civil infraction rather than a crime.
Mayor Jenny Durkan sent the bill to the council for a vote on July 9. The legislation comes at a time when gun safety and groups lobbying for stricter protections to stem gun violence have taken over the news.
The activism of students who survived the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, led to protests across the country demanding that legislators take steps to make kids safe at school. Groups like Moms Demand Action have joined the political fray, turning an A-rating from the National Rifle Association into a scarlet letter.
In the preamble, the Mayor’s Office noted that 38,658 people died by firearms in 2016 in the United States. In Seattle, guns were involved in 66 percent of homicides, 17 percent of robberies and 9 percent of aggravated assaults between 2015 and 2017.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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