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caption: Edmonds City Council President Mike Nelson demonstrates how he uses a safe for his pistol.
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Edmonds City Council President Mike Nelson demonstrates how he uses a safe for his pistol.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Gun-toting Edmonds councilmember proposes fines for not locking up firearms

The city of Edmonds could soon fine people who don't lock up their firearms.

The ordinance is being proposed by a gun owner.

Mike Nelson is the president of the Edmonds City Council. He has two young sons.

And he's a proud gun owner. Nelson is introducing legislation Tuesday that would require all gun owners use a trigger lock or a safe.

He said since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida this year he's received a lot of pressure to pass gun laws — especially from young people.

"They're afraid to go to school because they're afraid of getting shot. And so as a parent, that really struck a chord with me. Because I don't want my baby going and feeling that way. They should be going there to learn. They shouldn't be going there to be afraid. That's a place that should be of safety," Nelson said.

Those who do not safely store their firearms would face a civil infraction and a fine of $500. If a gun that was not correctly stored is used in a crime, the fine could jump to $10,000.

A recent University of Washington study found that 63 percent of gun-owning households in the state do not store their firearms locked and unloaded.

Nelson dismisses the criticism that it's unfair to be required to buy a lock or a safe.

“For the cost of a Happy Meal you can literally save somebody's life. A trigger lock is very, very inexpensive. We're talking $7 - $8. And if this law saves one life, I think it's a reasonable thing," he said.

The money raised by the fines would pay for trigger locks that the city would give out for free.