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Seattle safe gun storage law goes into effect Wednesday

Gun safes by Safe Tracker, based in Tukwila. (Heather Bosch, KIRO Radio)

As Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson issues a stern warning to sheriff’s refusing to enforce I-1639, Seattle’s own controversial gun measure officially goes into effect Wednesday.

RELATED: Seattle defines what ‘safe gun storage’ means

The law — approved unanimously by Seattle City Council last July — levies a series of fines against gun owners for improperly stored firearms, divided as such:

  • Up to $500 dollars for failing to store a firearm on any premises in a locked container.
  • Up to $1,000 if a firearm is obtained by youth, a prohibited purchaser, or someone expressing “suicidal or harmful ideation.”
  • Up to $10,000 per victim if prohibited person uses a firearm to injure, kill, or commit a crime.

“We are taking another important step to save lives,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a Tuesday news release. “Unsecured, unsafely stored firearms are more likely to be stolen, used in a suicide, accessed by children and teens, and result in tragic accidents. Responsible storage is a commonsense way to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

Safe gun storage was something of a nebulous distinction, until the city laid out the definition last September. It now encompasses a “safe, gun safe, gun case, gun cabinet, or lock box,” designed to “fully contain firearms.”

Leading into the enacting of this law, roughly 150,000 gun owners have reported leaving their firearms unlocked in their respective homes. The Harborview Prevention and Research Center also found that proper gun storage decreased the risk of accidental firearm-related injuries and youth suicides by 73 percent.

RELATED: Using gun safes under newest gun control regulation

“This law will make it harder for criminals to access firearms,” Seattle Police Carmen Best added in Tuesday’s new release. “Unsecured guns are not only an easy target for thieves, they are very dangerous for children. Safe storage is a common sense measure to reduce crime and increase the safety of our homes and neighborhoods.”

A lawsuit filed by the NRA attempting to block the safe storage law was dismissed by a King County Superior Court judge last October.

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