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Businesses, mayor plan gun-free zones

On Aug. 19, Mayor Mike McGinn and dozens of Seattle businesses pledged to make their businesses gun-free.

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Local News

Gun ban at Seattle businesses goes live

nogunssignSo far, over 30 businesses in Seattle have decided to go ‘Gun Free’ and that number will likely grow in the coming days. On Monday, Mayor McGinn and supporters announced a new plan to institute gun-free zones at area businesses. Everyone from ice cream parlors to yoga studios have signed up.

The move is a response to recent violence in Seattle and a lack of action from D.C. and Olympia.

Gun advocates don’t like the new plan saying that it attacks their way of life. This morning we will have live reports on the new gun ban and ask people what they think.

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the anti-gun violence organization Washington CeaseFire announced a plan Monday to encourage businesses to become gun-free zones.  Leaders say it’s an important step to help curb violence.

guns“This is one of the things we can do,” said McGinn, clearly frustrated that state legislators failed to pass universal background checks or any other gun-control legislation in Olympia this past session.  “These businesses are saying, we don’t want guns in our establishments.”

McGinn argued it’s an important step, given that state law prevents Seattle from banning guns on city-owned property, such as parks and community centers.

“If people leave their guns at home, don’t bring them into these business establishments, we hope we can make the city safer,” said McGinn.

Leaders of Washington CeaseFire, which developed the idea, admit that this won’t stop determined killers, such as last year’s Café Racer shooter.  But they argue it might stop disputes from escalating into deadly events, at least in the new places where guns now won’t be allowed.

“When you take the gun out of the equation, whether it’s the home or any place else and arguments might end up as fisticuffs,” said CeaseFire board chairman Ralph Fascitelli. “But they’re not going to end up in violence.”

Gun-rights groups took aim at the new proposal Monday.

“Gun-free zones are a piece of the problem,” said Alan Gottlieb, of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.  He noted that the elementary school in Newtown, Conn.,  was a gun-free zone, as was the movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

“Where do you have most of these mass crimes?” Gottlieb asked. “In gun free zones, because they are victim disarmament zones, and criminals can go there knowing they’re not going to be shot back at.”

Proponents of the gun-free businesses plan rejects the notion that armed, law-abiding citizens can effectively stop violent incidents.

“People don’t realize how difficult it is to get a gun if somebody’s going to jump on you, how difficult it is to shoot it accurately,” said Fascitelli.  “They don’t understand how nervous you get, you know, when somebody takes you by surprise.”

Opponents vow to fight the mayor and others, including working to stop a restrictive gun-control initiative that is expected to make the ballot next year.

“It is a culture war,” said Gottlieb.  “They have attacked our culture and we’re fighting back.”

Thirty businesses have already signed on to the gun-free zone program, including Café Racer, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Elliott Bay Books, and Sweatshop Yoga.

Local News

Seattle businesses start ‘gun free zones’

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.

nogunssignSeveral 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
  • Barboza
  • Big Mario’s Pizza
  • Brenthaven
  • Bus Stop Espresso
  • Café Paloma
  • Café Racer
  • Century Ballroom
  • Elliott Bay Books
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Fish Fry
  • Freddy’s Junior
  • Havana
  • Linda’s
  • Lost Lake Café & Lounge
  • Manhattan Seattle
  • Moe Bar
  • Molly Moons (6 locations_
  • Neumo’s
  • Nube Green
  • Oddfellows
  • Office Nomads
  • Platinum Records
  • Quinn’s
  • Smith
  • Southern Street Kids
  • Sweatbox Yoga
  • The Saint
  • Totokaelo
  • Zoe
Local News

Local businesses pledge to go gun-free


Photo courtesy of

SEATTLE — Local businesses are taking the pledge to stay gun free in the face of what one organization calls devastating gun violence.

Mayor Mike McGinn, Washington CeaseFire, and dozens of local businesses announced the launch of a new program designed to help local businesses become “Gun Free Zones.” The program increases the number “Gun Free Zones” around the city. Once signing a petition, participating businesses will place a “Gun Free Zone” decal sticker in their business, banning all customers from carrying a weapon — even with a valid concealed carry permit — into the store.

Neumos, Oddfellows, Elliot Bay Books, Cupcake Royale and Cafe Racer are just a few of the businesses signed up to participate so far.

“We’re making a statement as a community,” said Washington CeaseFire Board President Ralph Fascitelli. “We know this won’t stop someone determined to cause violence, but we hope that standing together and giving businesses a tool to say no to guns will change the conversation around gun violence.”

According to CeaseFire Washington, more people die from gun violence in King County each year than die in motor vehicle collisions. The estimated annual cost between 2007 and 2011 from firearms violence was $177 million.

Mayor McGinn said the city’s police force will enforce trespass laws if a gun-toting citizen enters a gun-free store.

“We are here to support businesses that do not wish to have guns on their premises,” McGinn said.

Washington CeaseFire is a statewide non-profit organization started in 1983.