New Seattle Law Requires Gun Owners to Lock Up Firearms or Face Fines


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. 

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