SEATTLE — It’s an ambitious and controversial attempt to get firearms out of businesses after recent spikes of gun violence in the metro area. And the new “gun free zone” campaign pushed by Washington Cease Fire also has the support of Mayor Mike McGinn.
Several businesses in Capitol Hill have put stickers near their building’s entrances, making it clear that firearms aren’t welcome. Shop owners said they have the right to say who can and can’t enter their stores. But not everyone thinks this idea will help reduce gun crimes.
“Every gun should be melted down and make a musical instrument out of it,” Sedat Uysal, who owns Café Paloma in Pioneer Square, said. Uysal plans to keep people who own guns out of his store. “They should take their guns to shooting ranges instead of public places,” he added.
The campaign was launched Monday at Oddfellows Café in Capitol Hill. The area is a scene where gunfire shook the neighborhood last month.
“It’s important to take steps like this,” Café Racer owner Kurt Geissel, who supports the gun free zone, said.
He knows the reality of gun violence — five people were gunned down in his café in May 2012.
“If it prevents one establishment, one person to have to not go through what we’ve gone through, it would be worth it. It may or may not work. There’s gotta be a dialogue — it starts a dialogue,” Geissel said.
Opponent think the conversation stops at the Constitution.
Ian Osborne always carries a gun and says he and other law-abiding gun owners are the key to ending violence.
“If an establishment doesn’t allow that then, well, you’ve got to respect that,” Osborne said. “Then one day when some mad man comes in and shoots up the place and murders everybody in there – well? They’ll learn their lesson I guess.”
The new push is in stark contrast to other businesses like Starbucks that does allow gun owners to open-carry inside their stores. As for Osborne, he won’t stop packing because of a sign on a window.
“I conceal carry. I’ll continue to conceal carry, but if an establishment asks me to leave I’ll have no choice,” he said.
The city of Seattle said they’re not spending any tax dollars on the guns free zone program. Businesses who want to be a part of this campaign can sign up online with Washington Cease Fire.
Businesses that currently participate in being gun free are:
- 5 Point Café
- Big Mario’s Pizza
- Bus Stop Espresso
- Café Paloma
- Café Racer
- Century Ballroom
- Elliott Bay Books
- First United Methodist Church
- Fish Fry
- Freddy’s Junior
- Lost Lake Café & Lounge
- Manhattan Seattle
- Moe Bar
- Molly Moons (6 locations_
- Nube Green
- Office Nomads
- Platinum Records
- Southern Street Kids
- Sweatbox Yoga
- The Saint