Gun range suicides spur change

Associated Press

BELLEVUE — Two suicides within five days have prompted Wade’s Gun Shop to stop renting guns to people who come to the suburban Seattle shooting range alone.

A person can still come in alone to target shoot with his own gun, but those who want to rent a gun must have someone with them.

The change in policy comes after the suicides of Georg Frey of Issaquah and Christina Rose of Kirkland, who each rented a handgun at the range earlier this month before turning it on themselves.

Wade’s owner Wade Gaughran declined to comment on how he’s dealing with the second and third suicides at his range since 1997. But an unidentified range manager who answered the phone at Wade’s said the shop no longer rents to lone shooters. Those who rent guns must also be at least 21 years old and have some stated shooting experience.

There have been at least 16 similar gun-rental suicides across Western states in the past five years, an Eastside newspaper reported.

But range managers and other members of the commercial shooting range industry say suicides are rare and most gun ranges are safe.

"It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to identify a potential suicide," said Rick Patterson, spokesman for the National Association of Shooting Ranges. "Our experience has been that most ranges are very safe and very successful at setting their own rules. Even high school football is far more dangerous for fatalities than your local gun range."

Both of the suicides at Wade’s Gun Shop happened during the evening.

Frey, 49, took a rented gun into a restroom on Dec. 1 and shot himself in the chest. Days earlier, a group of unhappy investors had confronted him about real estate deals in which he was involved.

Rose rented a gun from the shop on Dec. 6 and answered "yes" when asked if she had shooting experience, though employees told police she seemed nervous and uncomfortable. A little later, an employee found her in a pool of blood on the floor of the shooting range. A friend, Rafael Sanchez, said she had a history of depression, anxiety and suicide threats.

"We think the fact that virtually anyone can go to a range and rent a gun on the spot is a loophole in the law," said Washington Ceasefire director Bruce Gryniewski. "We’re looking into what can be done on a legislative level."

In 1997, Eric T. Kim of Seattle fatally shot himself at Wade’s Gun Shop. He was upset after finding out he wouldn’t graduate from the University of Washington on time, police said.

Weapon Safety Inc., another local shooting range that rents guns, said the recent suicides at Wade’s have caused it to make the same policy change regarding gun rentals.

"It’s not Wade’s fault," said John Clifford, owner of Weapon Safety Inc. "We’re very lucky at WSI that this has never happened. We’ve had a few people we’ve identified as potential suicides, and we called the police. We’ve been able to spot it in their demeanor."

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Compass Health’s building on Broadway in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Compass class teaches first aid — for mental health

A one-day course hosted in Snohomish County is designed to triage behavioral health challenges: “This gave me many more tools.”

The Wilderness Land Trust transferred a 354-acre property straddling the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas to public ownership, adding it to the designated wilderness areas. (The Wilderness Land Trust)
Wild Sky Wilderness grows 345 acres, as transfer chips at private land

The Wilderness Land Trust announced it had completed a transfer near Silvertip Peak to the U.S. Forest Service.

Most Read