Seattle gun owners could soon face fines or community service for failing to safely store their firearms.
The Seattle City Council passed a bill Monday to mandate safe gun storage and create new civil infractions for those who fail to comply. The new law will allow fines of up to $500 for people who fail to safely store their guns.
Penalties could escalate from there.
The bill creates civil infractions for both failing to safely store a gun and failing to safely store a gun when the owner "knows or reasonably should know" that the gun could be accessed by a minor, a person who's legally not allowed to possess guns, or someone who is "at risk." ("At-risk" is defined as someone who has "made statements or exhibited behavior that indicates to a reasonable person there is a likelihood that the person is at risk of attempting suicide or causing physical harm to oneself or others.")
If a minor, at-risk person, or person not legally allowed to possess a firearm accesses a gun that was not safely stored, the owner could face a fine of up to $1,000. If the person access the gun and uses it in connection with a crime or to kill or injure someone, the owner could face a fine of up to $10,000.
If the gun is used in a mass shooting, courts would have the ability to levy more than one $10,000 fine against the gun owner. Courts could consider restitution in lieu of fines.