Seattle’s New Safe Space.

Washington, and Seattle especially, deep dove into the gun control rabbit hole last year. One of the most public facing laws was Seattle’s ‘Safe Storage’ requirement. The 2018 law was supposed to stop children from accessing firearms and hurting themselves or others. A noble goal to be sure but… like the chart above shows. It doesn’t look like it was a problem.

Kids (of course it’s the kids) that this sweeping rule and accompanying fines and convictions for noncompliance were protecting didn’t have any 2017 deaths, remember this was passed July 2018. And only 1 injury of a minor was recorded. So why was this needed?

What was the safe storage law?

Seattle residents face penalties if they do not safely store their firearms or report lost and stolen guns.

Seattle’s safe storage regulation, and the rules on reporting lost and stolen guns, state:

  • Safe storage: Guns should be stored in a locked container, and rendered as unusable to any person other than the owner or authorized user.
  • Unauthorized access prevention: It will be a civil infraction if a minor, at-risk, or prohibited person obtains a firearm when the owner should have reasonably known they would have access to it.
  • Violation of the safe-storage law, or the unauthorized access regulation could result in a fine between $500 and $1,000.
  • If a prohibited or at-risk person, or a minor obtains a firearm and uses it to commit a crime, injure or kill someone (including themselves), the gun owner could be fined up to $10,000.
  • If a civil case results from prohibited access, it will be “prima facie evidence” that they are negligent. That means it is immediately a fact, unless proven otherwise.

A safe, gun safe, gun case, gun cabinet, or lock box is required to have and/or be.

(a) designed to fully contain firearms and prevent removal of, and access to, the enclosed
(b) Is capable of repeated use;
(c) May be opened only by a numerical combination consisting of the entry of at least three
variables entered in a specific sequence on a keypad, dial or tumbler device; key,
magnetic key, or electronic key; or by biometric identification; and
(d) Be constructed with such quality of workmanship and material that it may not be easily
pried open, removed, or otherwise defeated by the use of common tools.

The reports are still coming in, and will be for awhile, despite a numbers reporting requirement in the law that was very poorly designed with the lag in data collection. That is where these numbers come from. It will be very interesting in a year when we have numbers to compare these to. Again, these are pre law numbers. So this was the ‘dangerous’ Seattle that needed a safe storage law threatening residents with thousands of dollars in punitive fines.

My favorite bit is the fact that you automatically become guilty of the crime of improper storage if you get sued civilly, you then have to win the suit and prove you weren’t negligent instead of the state proving you were.

Fun stuff out west folks.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.