Mayor Jenny Durkan on Wednesday morning announced legislation that will require gun owners to lock up weapons when they’re not carrying or transporting them.
Standing alongside regional leaders at Harborview Medical Center, Durkan said the legislation aims to prevent avoidable accidents and suicides.
"This is not an anti-gun measure. This is a gun safety measure. I believe strongly in the Second Amendment,” Durkan said. She would reiterate her support for the Second Amendment several times during the press conference. "But any responsible gun owner knows they should keep their weapon locked when it’s not on them and keep it away from children.”
Council member Lorena González will serve as the bill’s primary sponsor. Details will be ironed out over the next couple months, Durkan said, as city officials speak with gun owners, public health researchers, schools and other interested parties.
How the city plans to enforce the proposed law is also still in the works. Durkan suggested the city could hold liable gun owners whose weapons get stolen and are used in crimes.
As for enforcing gun storage requirements when firearms have not been stolen, Durkan said, “We won’t be going into homes.”
But when asked by a reporter whether the city would act on tips—say, a parent who knew their kid was in a home with loose guns—Durkan said, “There will be enforcement … We’re not going to tell you today what that will look like.”
Dr. Frederick Rivara, a UW medical doctor that studies childhood injury prevention cited research showing that safe storage are effective in reducing youth gun suicides and accidental shootings.
Durkan’s proposed legislation marks her Seattle’s first gun control proposal since she took office in November. Seattle’s last major gun law, a tax on firearms and ammunition sales, passed in 2015 amid opposition from the National Rifle Association and gun store owners. Some of those opponents, including the NRA, sued the city over tax, but the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the policy in August.
The gun safety proposal will likely face similar opposition. Durkan said she is “very confident” this policy will hold up in court, too.
Durkan also used the press conference to give an update on Seattle’s funding of gun research safety and a program that restricts people with health crises from purchasing or possessing firearms. Seattle law enforcement has recovered 37 laws through the Extreme Risk Protection Order program, the mayor said.