MONROE — Snohomish County leaders have enlarged a “no-shooting” zone in response to local residents’ concerns after a stray bullet narrowly missed a 4-year-old child on July 4.
The County Council voted 4-1, with Chairman Nate Nehring opposed, to pass an emergency ordinance barring shooting on two stretches of land just north and east of the city’s boundaries.
Shaken by the close call on July 4, area residents called on the council to approve the measure, saying it could save lives.
“I’m nervous to be gardening. I’m nervous to mow the lawn,” said Elly Britt. “This is absolutely in the best interest of the public to get this done so that we can all be in our backyards in peace and feel safe in our own homes.”
The mother of two young children lives next door to the family that was having a cookout in the Eaglemont development when the stray bullet crashed through the sliding glass door of their home. She’s been a key advocate for the rule change, which Councilman Sam Low formally introduced to his colleagues on Monday.
“This is the testimony that I’ve been hearing for the last couple months on this,” Low said after the hearing closed on Wednesday. Council staff needed time to draft the ordinance after he initially suggested it this summer, he added.
Eaglemont is just inside the borders of Monroe, where shooting was already illegal. But the bullet came from an unincorporated area outside of the city boundary.
Under the new ordinance, shooting is illegal in the area north of Woods Creek Road, west of Ingraham Road and south of Brown Road. Before it passed, those three roads marked the limits of the no-shooting zone closest to Monroe.
The zone was also expanded westward to include land west of Chain Lake Road and north of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.
County officials hadn’t updated those boundaries in decades and needed to redraw them to protect the growing population of Eaglemont and surrounding neighborhoods, proponents of the measure told the council.
Similar incidents have occurred nearby in the past five years. In October 2016, an illegal shooting happened close to a home and horses on private property. Then again in December 2018, a stray bullet entered a home north of Eaglemont while a resident was inside.
County code designates no-shooting areas on unincorporated, non-federal lands throughout the county.
The code outlines a resident-driven petition process through which the council may consider the creation of new no-shooting zones. The provision also states it “shall not limit the legislative authority” of the council.
Eaglemont residents were unable to request the change through the petition process because they didn’t live within the borders of the addition.
Nehring said he “respectfully” opposed the measure because the petition process wasn’t followed.
Firing a gun in a no-shooting zone is a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of $500.
Under state law, shooting in a manner that threatens any person or property can result in arrest for assault or reckless endangerment. It’s also illegal to fire within 500 feet of any building, except for facilities that are specifically designed for recreational shooting.