Edmonds will consider new law requiring safe storage of guns

Under the proposal, gun owners could face fines ranging from $500 to $10,000.

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

EDMONDS — Gun owners in this city could soon face fines if they fail to keep their firearms locked up and inaccessible to others, especially children.

Mike Nelson, president of the Edmonds City Council, said he will propose a new city law requiring owners to safely store their guns.

Those weapons should also be “rendered unusable” to anyone other than the owner or those they’ve authorized to use it, he said. The law is not expected to apply to firearms carried by or under the control of owners.

If anyone not permitted to use the gun, including a minor child, gets access to the weapon then the gun owner could be held civilly liable and fined between $500 and $1,000. If an unauthorized person uses the firearm to commit a crime or injure themselves or others, the gun owner could be fined up to $10,000.

Any fines collected by the city would be spent to buy lock boxes and give them out to residents, he said.

Nelson is a gun owner and the father of two young children. He keeps the weapons locked up and thinks all gun owners should do the same. The proposed ordinance could be brought to the council as early as July 17, he said.

“I want to show the public there are gun owners out there that support responsible gun ownership and safety,” he said in an interview. “There are people out there who think this is a reasonable thing.”

The language is modeled on an ordinance under consideration in Seattle, he said. Everett also is mulling something similar.

If approved, Nelson said he envisioned a 180-day grace period in which the city could carry out a lot of public education.

When he announced his plans at a news conference July 3, he brought two of his lock boxes and demonstrated how quickly they can be opened. Opponents of safe storage requirements argue that the few moments needed to unlock a box could cost a gun owner or others around them their lives.

Nelson’s proposal comes as a statewide initiative dealing with firearms moved a step closer to getting on the November ballot. Signatures were turned in July 6 for Initiative 1639.

The proposed Initiative 1639 would make a number of changes in state law including a provision holding gun owners criminally liable if another person accesses an unsafely stored firearm to hurt themselves or someone else.

An Edmonds code “will complement what they are trying to do,” Nelson said. “Our citizens are asking us to act now. I am not going to wait to see if they can get something passed.”

Renee Hopkins

Renee Hopkins

One of the leaders of the group pushing the initiative agreed.

The broader goal is fomenting change in behavior, said Renee Hopkins, chief executive officer of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

“Having laws at the local level that require, encourage and incentivize safe storage will help with that,” she said.

Edmonds City Councilwoman Adrienne Fraley-Monillas also backs the proposal.

“Who knows how the votes will land,” she said. “If it doesn’t pass at least Edmonds will have some sort of protection for the children.”

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A portion of the Redistricting Commission-approved legislative map showing the 12th District, which would span the Cascade Range. (Washington State Redistricting Commission) 20211124
Proposed political map links cities from Monroe to Wenatchee

Highway 2 would unite communities on both sides of the Cascades in one legislative district. Here’s what else could change.

Money seized during an investigation into a Snohomish County fentanyl ring. (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Snohomish County men get federal prison for major fentanyl ring

They got drugs from China and ran an operation that could press 2.5 million pills. They must serve mandatory minimum sentences.

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

Top (L-R): Brian Holtzclaw, Eric Cooke, Judy Williams, Tim Schmitt. Bottom (L-R): Patrick Leonetti, Donna Cross, Dani Gaumond, Rob Johnson.
Recounts in Mill Creek, Stanwood as 2021 election is certified

Another tally is required to settle races for seats on city councils, as well as the Alderwood water district.

The Washington State House of Representatives convenes for floor session, Feb. 21, 2019.
Granite Falls representative joins lawsuit over House vax rule

Rep. Robert Sutherland objects to the COVID-19 vaccine because he had a severe reaction to a flu shot.

Stillaguamish tribal members hold flags during a powwow. (Contributed)
Arlington formally recognizes homeland of Stillaguamish people

A newly adopted acknowledgement is intended to show respect to native ancestors and their descendants.

Most Read