Gun owners who fail to secure their firearms within the guidelines adopted by the Seattle City Council on Monday could face a $10,000 fine.
The Council, composed of eight Democrats and one Socialist, approved Mayor Jenny Durkin’s proposed city ordinance this week without dissent. The measure mandates firearm storage and penalizes those who do not report missing guns to police.
“Today, we passed modest legislation requiring all gun owners to lock-up their firearms when it is out of the owner’s immediate possession or control and imposing higher civil penalties when an owner fails to report a lost or stolen firearm,” said Durkin in a statement. “These bills will result in keeping guns out of the hands of children and others who do not have a legal right to possess a firearm and will result in less suicides and preventable gun deaths.”
Durkan’s ordinance, proposed with input from City Attorney Pete Holmes, Councilmember M. Lorena González and gun control advocates from the Brady Campaign and Everytown, sets a range of civil fines between $500 and $10,000 for those who leave unsecured firearms in areas where minors or those considered “at risk” may find them.
Additionally, it would require those who find that they have lost a gun or had one stolen to notify police within 24 hours. Failure to make such a report would result in fines of up to $1,000.
Rob McKenna, the former Republican Attorney General of Washington, has argued that the plan violates the state’s preemption laws where it comes to firearms. “Is regulation of safe storage specifically authorized by state law? I don’t know that it is,” McKenna said.
The measure will become law 180 days after Durkan signs it and passed with the support of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Moms Demand Action.