Seattle leaders call for statewide gun initiative

gunSEATTLE — On Wednesday, Seattle leaders expressed frustration not just at the shootings in Connecticut, but at the fact that their hands are pretty much tied from enacting gun control measures.

That’s because Washington state law prohibits cities from passing their own rules when it comes to firearms. They’re stuck with whatever comes out of Olympia. And right now, those laws are pretty permissive.

For instance, Washington doesn’t have an assault weapons ban like some states do.

“We have to take it to the people,” said Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “I don’t want to wait on Olympia. I think that’s been a proven ineffective technique.”

Harrell wants a statewide citizen initiative that would allow cities to enact guns control laws of their own. Such an effort would require about 250,000 signatures.

“We want to get this on the ballot,” he said.

Harrell argues that if local jurisdictions were allowed to chart their own course when it came to gun laws than Seattle would be a safer place.

“We just want our ability, for example, to prohibit guns in parks, to prohibit people who are intoxicated from having a handgun, to require background checks when someone applies for a concealed weapons permit,” he said.

Seattle’s Police Chief, John Diaz, expressed support for the idea of going to the people.

“If we can’t do it as a country, if we can’t do it as an individual state, then we have to look at what we can do as a city,” he said.

A statewide initiative on gun control is no sure thing.  A measure that would have required trigger locks back in the 90s failed by a big margin.

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29 comments

    • adam

      Not a councilman the police chief himself doesn't know the laws. I've experienced ignorance of police before but Chief Diaz is a high up official and should know his laws. Shame on you chief.

      • K_W

        "said Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell"
        The Cheif isn't refered to until the following paragraph. Just don't want the wrong guy getting called out for something he didn't do.

    • Citizen98107

      What have parents done to keep guns out of the hands of their children? Remember the shooting in Bremerton earlier this year? Some gun owners are extremely sloppy. How abut the 11 year-old kid in Portland attempting an armed carjacking? Teachers I've talked to don't want to be security guards.

  • JDH

    I am so sick of you liberal socialist. You have no understanding of why the 2nd amendment exists do you? Here is a quick class. 2A has nothing to do with hunting. It was enacted so we could protect ourselves against the government and foreign governments. No place in the constitution does it say "firearms" the word used is "ARMS" While AR15's just look like they are weapons of war they are not, but regardless I expect, and the founders expected we the people to be as close to armed as the government was. It is our duty. Either way I will never give mine up, and someday I will pass them down to my kids or nephew legal or not, so they may carry on and fight if need be. Why dont you just ban physcopaths and nut jobs? Or maybe that is the democratic/socialist voter base?

  • DeRF

    Not only are background checks done for everyone (by Law) prior to issuance of a CWP, all the other statements he made (e.g., handling a gun while drunk) are also already covered by existing laws.

  • Monica

    Either this guy did less homework than I do for school, or the misrepresentation of our gun control laws was deliberate. Now, all the uninformed who read this article are misinformed.

  • Guest

    So Seattle politcians want an to legislate by Initiative? They will need to change our State Constitution to outright ban any weapon. In don't think so.

    SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

  • David

    Take all the deaths children and adults killed by a bullet across the whole world in a year. and its a sliver compaired to the deaths caused by alcohol ralated deaths of adults and Children in the USA alone. More than 400,000 men women and children. Instead of a ban on alcohol the government allowed it to be put in our local grocery stores and now CHILDREN ARE WALKING OUT OF STORES WITH ALCOHOL!!!!!
    HYPOCRISY is the state of promoting or administering virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have and is also guilty of violating.[1] Hypocrisy often involves the deception of others and thus can be considered a kind of lie.

    • guest

      WAIT A MINUTE, the VOTERS are the ones who decided to move alcohol sales from State Liquor Control Stores to grocery and other convenience stores, by initiative. Those of us who were thinking were happy to leave the State with that monopoly and control.

  • Davy Crockett

    From the Atlantic Monthly:
    But what about the country at the other end of the spectrum? What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world's least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora Colorado theater shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

    • David

      More than 4,00,000 people die every year due to alcohol relaed deaths. I dont see anyone talking about banning alcohol and its the bigest killer in the whole world. More than terrorist attacks, gun fights murderes, accidents wars ect, ect If you keep banning guns it will only leed to more problems, bigest problem- Outlaw our guns and ONLY the Outlaws will have guns. If our President has any real patriotism he will understand, respect and defend our 2nd amendment in the Constitution and all that it stands for.

      • Guest

        That isn't true, many want to ban alcohol and there are many laws against overserving and driving under the influence, among other alcohol (and drug) related offenses. At that it's an apples and oranges comparison anyway. Far more people use Alcohol irresponsibly and VERY FEW use alcohol as a weapon to mass murder others.

  • Marc M

    The only reason they are doing this is because they know if they were able to make laws on the city/town level it would create a burden and the hassle would cause less law biding citizens to carry.

    Of course the problem isn't law biding citizens.. it is criminals… who won't follow the law anyway.

    Passing legislation and regulations on law biding citizens to combat criminal behavior is not only an act of futility but a sign of mental illness.

    Few people would be against working on helping the mentally ill in our country or enforcing the many laws already on the books when it comes to criminals…

    Punishing law biding citizens is just them pushing an agenda…

  • Tim B.

    Want a "Safer" city by taking all the guns away? Move to Chicago or Detroit! They have laws against guns. Please educate yourselves with a search on http://WWW.Spotcrime.com. See for yourself what happens to crime rates in cities that prohibit guns! Watch this Video! Think for yourselves. Or it will be Too Late!