Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seattle's Proposed Gun Ban Hearing

Monday 6:30, be there.
Public hearing scheduled on proposed firearms rule
Residents may also comment online

SEATTLE – The city of Seattle has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed administrative rule to restrict firearms on city-owned property.

The hearing will be held on Dec. 15, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, with sign-in beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Bertha Knight Landes room is accessible from the building’s Fifth Avenue entrance. Residents unable to attend may also submit written comments at:

Following a shooting that injured three people at the Folklife Festival on May 24 of this year, Mayor Greg Nickels directed all city of Seattle departments to study the adoption and enforcement of policies, rules and contractual agreements which would prohibit the possession of dangerous weapons, including firearms, on city property. The suspect in the Folklife shooting had a concealed weapons permit, despite a history of drug abuse and mental health problems.

“From increasing the number of patrol officers on our streets, to our Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, we’re addressing public safety issues from all directions. Common-sense gun rules are just one more way to protect our workers, residents, families and children,” said Nickels.

The proposed rule does not include any specific criminal or civil penalties, but a person refusing to comply with the rule would be subject to citation or arrest for criminal trespass.

The proposed rule would not apply to:

City streets and public sidewalks, except when they are being used for non-transportation purposes such as special events. The rule does apply to sidewalks and other walkways located within city parks.
Motor vehicle parking garages and parking lots.
City property leased and occupied for residential purposes.
City-owned property that is located outside the state of Washington.
The Roger Dahl Rifle Training Range.
To address the safety of visitors, including families and children, at city-owned properties, the city of Seattle is also implementing a firearms policy which is applicable to permits, leases and other contractual agreements for the use of city property. Under its policy, the city would lease, rent or permit the use of city property to only those parties who prohibit all persons, except law enforcement officers, from possessing firearms on leased city premises. To prevent the possession of firearms during an event, the city would also require sponsors of major events to take reasonable steps, such as signage, visual inspections, safe storage for lawful firearms, etc. The city would also permit departments to add gun-free terms to most leases and agreements.

State law allows private property owners to prohibit the presence of firearms on their property. As a property owner, the city has rules at Seattle Center and most facilities such as City Hall, prohibiting firearms unless a person has a concealed weapons permit. Organizations that lease Key Arena also have the ability to prohibit firearms in the facility. In addition to other prohibitions, state law prohibits firearms at schools, jails and courthouses.

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Office of the Mayor

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