Seattle law now requires people to lock up their guns—or face the financial consequences
Soon, Seattleites who leave their guns lying around will be breaking the law.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council approved an ordinance that requires people in Seattle to store their firearms in a locked container.
The ordinance makes it a civil penalty to keep firearms unlocked in the home. Violations could lead to a fine of up to $500, or up to $10,000 if an unsecured firearm is taken by a person not legally allowed to possess it and it’s used in a crime.
This year students in Seattle and across the U.S. held marches calling on their lawmakers to do something to prevent gun violence. Seattle's new ordinance is, in part, a response to that call. The plan was proposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan.
A recent University of Washington study found that 63 percent of the gun owning households in the state do not store firearms locked and unloaded.
Supporters of the plan say locking up firearms keeps them away from people in crisis, or from people prohibited from having guns.
Some gun rights groups, however, have opposed the penalties, saying that they agreed with the importance of safe storage, but that they were concerned about city government repeatedly attacking their rights.
The new ordinance will take effect 180 days after the mayor formally signs the legislation.
King County and Seattle are also funding efforts to make sure domestic violence perpetrators and people in crisis surrender their guns.
Correction, 4:28p.m., 7/11/18: The new Seattle ordinance does not require firearms to be unloaded when stored in a locked container. A previous version of this story was incorrect.