Board of health wants signs posted at gun shops, ranges

Sep 20, 2018, 1:32 PM | Updated: 4:40 pm

gun, gun tax...

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

From a sweeping gun control initiative that will be on the November ballot, to Seattle’s new safe storage law – there are lot of possible changes in the works for Washington state’s gun laws.

RELATED: Seattle defines what ‘safe gun storage’ means under new rules

That includes a proposal that would require warning signs at gun shops. The proposal — not made by the King County Council, but by the Seattle King County Board of Health — was pushed to next month’s meeting.

Joe McDermott, a member of the board of health, is behind the proposal.

“And this would require signage at points of sale and discharge, ie, retail outlets and firing ranges about the health effects of owning a firearm … having a firearm on the premises, and the number for the crisis connection line if you or someone you know is experiencing depression or contemplating suicide,” McDermott said.

The signs would read:

“The presence of a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic violence disputes and unintentional deaths to children, household members and others.”

Below that would be the number 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) for anyone dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide.

“Over half of gun deaths in the nation and in King County are suicide, and so we need to be very engaged in addressing suicide as a key component of addressing gun violence,” McDermott added.

Should the board of health approve this rule, gun shop owners and ranges that don’t post the signs at both the front of their shop and at least one cash register would first get a warning and then face fines of up to $100 a day.

Dave Workman with the says that’s an issue.

“This sounds like social justice warriors at work,” Workman said. “There is a program in place that involves gun shop operators that’s a voluntary program that is aimed at reducing suicides and firearms accidents, but slapping fines on somebody for a $100 a day for not doing that? That just sounds like a money generating operation.”

Workman believes the signs are an effort to discourage gun ownership, but McDermott insists this is a public health issue.

“When vehicle deaths were increasing, we responded by not only putting seat belts in cars but requiring their use — by putting airbags in cars. We need to respond in the same way to this public health crisis with a variety of ways to protect and to make people safe,” McDermott said.

Workman doesn’t buy that gun violence is a public health issue.

“I don’t think firearms have ever been a public health issue, that’s a creation of somebody,” Workman said. “Having a firearm in the home, if you store it safely, that’s not a problem for anybody. You know, we are talking about a constitutionally protected right here, not a disease.”

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Board of health wants signs posted at gun shops, ranges