Proposed Washington Law Criminalizes Child Access To Guns | KUOW News and Information

Proposed Washington Law Criminalizes Child Access To Guns

Nov 7, 2014

Credit Flickr Photo/Ray Dehler (CC BY 2.0)

For two years, Democratic Rep. Ruth Kagi has been unsuccessful in sending her bill regarding child gun access prevention to the floor of the Washington Legislature.

With the passing of the background check initiative and the school shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, she has more hope for the 2015 session.

“Guns are a very, very difficult issue in the Legislature, and we have been unsuccessful in passing most bills,” Kagi said on KUOW’s The Record. “I do think the vote on background checks really opens the door to more reasonable public safety measures that will help reduce the level of gun violence.”

Kagi’s law states that a person is guilty of reckless endangerment for leaving or storing a loaded firearm in a place where a child is likely, or does, gain access. It also requires firearm dealers to give purchasers a lockbox or gun lock and post warning signs of potential criminal liability for non-safe storage.

She said that the law focuses on the child-safety issue and does not necessarily force people to lock up their guns.

“I think it’s a strategy that can really reduce death by firearms,” she said. “In 12 states that have child access prevention laws in place – that have criminal penalties – the unintended firearm deaths fell by 23 percent in four years for children under 15.”

She said she has not received any support from across the aisle yet, but issues such as teen suicide and public support for background checks may pave the way for the next session.

“Guns have been a lightning rod issue,” she said. “But I think after this vote and after what happened this year that maybe some people will reconsider.”

Produced for the Web by Kara McDermott.