Seattle, WA thinks that people must be punished if they don’t have their weapons stored in a manner consistent with their sensibilities. So, if someone’s gun is obtained illegally–be it by a criminal or a family member with nefarious intentions–the lawful owner gets to be victimized twice. Once by the person taking his or her gun, the second by the government which wants to hammer them for not securing the weapon according to its wishes.
And even if the weapon was secured in some manner, it may not have been up to snuff in Seattle’s mind.
Yes, it’s stupid. Luckily, the NRA is now stepping in to formally challenge the law.
The National Rifle Association, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, sued the city of Seattle on Friday over its “safe storage” gun law, arguing it violates Washington State’s 35-year-old pre-emption statute.
Last week, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed into law legislation that requires firearms to be stored in a locked container and slaps penalties on those who do not report lost or stolen guns.
But that ordinance, which was set to go into effect in January and would slap a fine as high as $10,000 on offenders, runs afoul of state gun laws, the NRA, SAF, and two Seattle residents who are firearm owners, Omar Abdul Alim and Michael Thyng, allege in their lawsuit.
The crux of the argument is that the new ordinance runs afoul of the state’s preemption law. Seattle lawmakers argue that the new rule governs the storage of guns, not the ownership or carrying of firearms.
That’s a pathetic semantic argument, and they know it. It’s still a gun law, and preemption blocks communities from passing gun laws. Plain and simple.
The whole purpose of preemption laws is to prevent individual communities from passing their own laws regarding guns and gun ownership, making it impossible for individuals moving within the state to keep up with every law. For example, a family that moves to Seattle from anywhere else in the state may accidentally run afoul of the safe storage law due to simple ignorance. While the law is making headlines now, it won’t in a couple of years.
Add in the fact that the law fails to accept things like gun locks or trigger locks as acceptable, and you’ll have even more people breaking this law without realizing it. They’ll use these devices–especially since many new guns come with gun locks–and not even know they’re breaking the law rather than complying with it.
Frankly, with police departments concerned about being able to recover stolen weapons, you’d think lawmakers would want to encourage people to report stolen guns. Seattle’s law does the exact opposite. Absent a gun registration system, there’s no way to track down who owns what. While Washington has a universal background check system, that law has been a dismal failure. No one knows where the guns are in the first place.
So, considering that, why would gun owners admit their weapons were stolen? Why risk a massive fine for not having a gun locked up? It’s cheaper to replace the firearm and call it a day.
But I suspect Seattle didn’t think about that one, did they?