On paper and to the uninitiated, safe weapon storage laws sound like they do a lot of good. I mean, what’s the harm in telling people they need to lock up their firearm so they don’t fall into the “wrong” hands?
However, like most things involving firearms, it’s rarely that simple. Seattle’s law requires guns to be in a locked container, so a simple gun lock won’t suffice, which ramps of the cost of gun ownership for one thing. For another, keeping guns behind locked containers means they’re not necessarily accessible when you need one.
In other words, storage laws may sound good, but they could easily cost people their lives.
Despite that, however, it seems a number of communities around Seattle are considering their own law following the larger city’s lead.
Communities not far from Seattle are now considering their own safe gun storage regulations after the Emerald City passed its own.
“I would rather be spending my time debating signs and locations of city buildings and not have to talk about firearms,” said Edmonds Council President Mike Nelson at the council’s Tuesday meeting. “I never thought when I took this job that this was something I would be doing. I also didn’t think I’d have to hear from my six-year-old, beaming with pride, that he now knows how to properly barricade himself from an armed gunman.”
“My personal focus on this is what we can do to protect our kids,” he said.
Nelson, a gun owner himself, has proposed a safe gun storage ordinance for Edmonds. It echoes Seattle’s recently-passed regulation, aiming to get owners to lock up their guns. It differs from Seattle’s rule, however, by allowing the use of trigger locks.
- Gun owners could be fined up to $500 for not safely storing their firearms.
- If a child or prohibited person gets access to their gun, the fine goes up to $1,000.
- If a child or prohibited person harms another or commits a crime with the gun, the fine goes up to $10,000.
Money raised from the fines will be used to pay for trigger locks, which the city would hand out to owners for free. Nelson notes the fines are recommended, but judges will have discretion, offering owners other penalty options. He said the primary goal of the ordinance is gun owner education.
I’m sorry, that’s not how you educate people.
If you want to educate gun owners, there are ways. A media blitz on television, radio, and the newspapers would raise the issue as well as teach how to safely store your weapons. Working with gun groups to provide free training would be another.
You don’t create a law and a series of punishments, all in the name of “education.”
Educating people isn’t want laws are for. They exist solely for the purpose of maintaining an ordered society. If you want to educate people, find another way. If you want to make people do something, you create a law.
Plain and simple.
One thing Nelson failed to note is that the Seattle law is being challenged under the state’s preemption law, something that I have little doubt his community would experience if they proceed.
Good luck with that.