What is the Seattle safe storage law all about? And why is it under fire? Here's what we know so far!
Seattle Safe Storage Law: What's Wrong With It?
A lawsuit filed in 2018 against Seattle’s safe storage gun law has been given new life as a state appeals court ruled on Monday that the plaintiffs have the standing to move forward against the city of Seattle.
This appeals court decision is a huge victory for Second Amendment supporters.
Over two years ago, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a safe storage law that would require gun owners to lock up their guns.
If they don't, they face fines of up to $10,000 if someone were to access the gun and use it in a crime.
Why Does It Violate Washington State Law?
The lawsuit was filed almost immediately after the law was passed, with the Second Amendment Foundation, the NRA, and others who attest that the law violates Washington State’s preemption law as plaintiffs.
Washington does not allow municipalities to enact laws or ordinances that are more restrictive than state law.
The lawsuit had previously stalled when a King County Superior Court judge tossed it out in October 2018.
The plaintiffs appealed and waited over a year to hear that their case would move forward.
“We conclude that justiciability defects do not remove a superior court’s subject matter jurisdiction and that the challengers have plausibly alleged a justiciable controversy under the appropriate CR 12(b)(6) standard. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” the court found.
The city can now appeal to the State Supreme Court, or go to trial. Gun rights advocates are confident about having their case tried in court.
“It’s a great victory for the Second Amendment Foundation and our case against Seattle,” said Alan Gottlieb with the Second Amendment Foundation. “We have to have a trial on the merits of the case, which I believe we will win eventually.”
A similar law in Edmonds was just recently determined to violate state law.
A Snohomish County judge found that the city cannot legally require people to lock up their guns.
However, she did allow room for civil fines to be levied against those that allow a child or a thief to access a gun and use it.
Seattle’s Safe Storage Regulation
Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed the Seattle safe storage law. She has had a tumultuous year after allowing CHAZ to disintegrate into lawlessness. She also struck back against a Councilwoman who led a group of protestors to her private residence.
The rules of the regulation are:
- Safe storage: Guns should be stored in a locked container. And guns should be rendered as unusable to any person other than the owner or authorized user.
- Unauthorized access prevention: It will be a civil infraction if a minor, at-risk, or prohibited person obtains a firearm when the owner should have reasonably known they would have access to it.
- Violation of the safe-storage law or the unauthorized access regulation could result in a fine between $500 and $1,000.
- If a prohibited or at-risk person or a minor obtains a firearm and uses it to commit a crime, injure or kill someone (including themselves), the gun owner could be fined up to $10,000.
- If a civil case results from prohibited access, it will be “prima facie evidence” that they are negligent. That means it is immediately a fact unless proven otherwise.
The new gun law will go into effect 180 days after it passes and Mayor Durkan signs it.
According to Mayor Durkan’s office, an estimated 150,000 adults in King County store their firearms unlocked.
Dan Nolte of the Seattle City Attorney’s office said that the city will confer with their pro bono legal counsel to determine next steps in the lawsuit.
Knowing both sides of the story now, what is your opinion on the Seattle safe storage law? Let us know why you agree or disagree with it in the comments section!