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NRA sues Seattle over “safe storage” gun law

The NRA sued the Mayor and Police Chief of Seattle over the city’s new “safe storage” gun law that would assess hefty fines against Seattle gun owners who do not safely store their firearms.

Among the changes in the new law:

– A gun owner must come to a police station or file a report quickly when a firearm is lost, stolen or used improperly by someone else. Failure to report a gun theft, loss or misuse could result in civil penalties.

– Gun owners could be fined up to $500 for failure to store a firearm in a locked container or to render it unusable to anyone but the owner.

– The fine would increase to $1,000 if a minor or prohibited person gets their hands on an unsecured weapon.

– The fine would increase even more – up to $10,000 – if a minor or prohibited person uses an unsecured firearm to cause injury, death or commit a crime.

The ordinance was drafted following the release of a new University of Washington study showing that nearly two in three gun-owning households in Washington state do not safely store their firearms.

The National Rifle Association lawsuit says in Washington, the state, not cities have the power to regulate guns. The NRA website says:

Washington’s state firearm preemption statute was passed in 1983 to keep firearm and ammunition laws consistent throughout the state by establishing that the State Legislature has full authority to regulate and create laws pertaining to firearms and ammunition.  These statutes help prevent a confusing patchwork of gun control laws which make it difficult for gun owners to ensure that they are following the law.  Further, Second Amendment rights are guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of where they reside.  State preemption statutes help protect against the infringement of rights of citizens who live in localities controlled by anti-gun elected officials.  The City of Seattle’s ordinance is exactly the type of legislation against which the state preemption statute was designed to protect.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin said, “While they go to court – kids go to the hospital. We can’t prevent every gun death or injury, we can take steps to help prevent tragedies. I am grateful that legal experts who share our commitment to reducing gun violence are standing with us and standing up for safer communities.” She added, “We will prevail and will continue to push for more protection for our children.”

The NRA responded:

Gun safety and storage is a matter of personal responsibility and every person’s situation is different.  It is unreasonable for the law to impose a one-size-fits-all solution.  This poorly thought out legislation is without any consideration for personal circumstances.  It invades people’s homes and forces them to render their firearms useless in a self-defense situation by locking them up.

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