Supporters, critics react to Seattle’s gun safety measure

SEATTLE -- Gun owners in Seattle could now face up to a $10,000 fine if they don’t safely store firearms.

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed an ordinance that requires the safe storage of firearms inside Seattle city limits.

“It has a fingerprint reader,” Wade Gaughren said as he popped open a gun safe in his gun shop.

Locking up your gun is now closer to becoming law in Seattle. The ordinance doesn’t surprise Wade Gaughren, owner of Wade’s Gun Shop.

“It’s the Seattle City Council, man. You can shoot heroin on the street there, you can park your motor home in front of businesses and you can pretty much get away with heinous behavior," Gaughren said. "Why would they not approve another dumb law?"

He agrees gun owners should lock up their guns but doesn’t like the idea of government mandating it.

“We’re starting to get so far into the weeds that the responsibility for the criminal act should be on the criminal, not on the things he acquires to use in the crime,” said Gaughren.

The ordinance was drafted last month after a University of Washington study showed two out of three gun-owning households in Washington state do not safely store their firearms.

“It’s a political statement more than anything else, it’s just Seattle hating guns,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

According to the legislation, gun owners can face fines of $500 if their firearms are not safely stored, $1,000 if their gun is taken because it wasn't safely stored, and $10,000 if their stolen gun is used to cause injuries or deaths.

“We acknowledge proper storage of firearms contributes heavily to a safer community,” said Heather Damron, with the group Mom’s Demand Action, which praised the council's action. “We support the Second Amendment but we believe in common-sense solutions to decrease the epidemic of gun violence that are killing too many children and loved ones.”

Gottlieb says gun owners aren’t the ones to blame and the new legislation is not legal.

“My bigger concern is that the city of Seattle doesn’t have the legal authority to pass the law,” said Gottlieb.

Gottlieb says cities and counties are not allowed to pass gun-control statutes that are more restrictive than state law. He says he met with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and told her if this ordinance passes, his office plans to file suit against the city.

The legislation will take effect 180 days after the mayor signs it into law.