New Seattle Gun Law Leaves Homeowners Unprepared For A Break-In

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Seattle passed a law Monday requiring gun owners to store firearms unloaded and in a secured container.

CB119266 was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council and makes it a civil infraction to keep firearms unlocked or loaded while not under control of the owner, imposing a fine of up to $500.

Violating the ordinance can result in even higher penalties, up to $1,000, if the firearm is accessible to a minor or an “at-risk” person. It can incur penalties of up to $10,000 if a minor, “at-risk” person or prohibited possessor obtains the firearm and uses it to harm oneself or another. (RELATED: Massachusetts Governor Signs Gun Seizure Bill)

“This is the kind of action we need to save lives,” Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “While we can’t prevent every gun death or injury, we can take steps to help prevent future tragedies.”

“Seattle is unafraid to be a leader and take legislative action on measures to reduce and prevent gun violence,” Durkan continued.

Gun rights advocates have long opposed mandatory storage requirements, arguing that circumstances between gun owners vary widely — a gun owner in a rural area has different needs than that of a gun owner with children in a city.

study on safe-storage gun laws found that such requirements actually increased instances of property crime and violent crime, but had no significant impact on juvenile suicides or accidental gun deaths.

Second Amendment organizations such as the Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association argue that safe-storage laws render a firearm useless in a self-defense emergency, such as a break-in.

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