"These Progressives Never Quit,Now City Property Is Theirs Alone !"
In response to recent incidents of violence, including a shooting on May 24 that killed three people at Seattle's Folklife festival, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has recommended that all city departments consider a ban of all concealed weapons on city property.
The ban would make it illegal for anyone to carry a firearm on properties including the Seattle Center and City Hall, even with a concealed weapons permit. State law already prohibits firearms in schools, courthouses and jails.
It would not affect city streets and public sidewalks that are not being used for city events, parking garages and lots, city property leased for residential use or the Roger Dahl Rifle Training Range.
In a press release Nickels said "From the increasing number of patrol offices 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."
Some have questioned how effective the rule would be. Kay Godefroy, a West Seattle resident and executive director of the Seattle Neighborhood Group, says that while the rule might be effective in city-owned buildings, it would be difficult to enforce in parks and other open spaces.
"I really don't think that people will obey it," said Godefroy. "If someone doesn't feel safe in a park they're still going to (carry a firearm)."
She added that Nickel's attempt to control youth violence may be misdirected.
"I think the problem is there are too many guns walking around the city," says Godefroy. "It's the availability of guns that has more to do with the recent rise in youth violence."
Others see it as a violation of their second amendment right.
"Second amendment gives us the right (to carry a handgun) whether it's your home or a park or anywhere else," said one West Seattle resident who legally carries a handgun. "I don't think it would prevent assaults because bad people don't obey the law in the first place."
Under the policy city departments would add gun-free terms to most leases and agreements. City property would only be leased, rented or permitted for use to parties that prohibit all attending from possessing firearms on leased city property. Sponsors of major events would be required to take reasonable preventative actions such as visual inspections and safe storage for legal firearms.
Currently the proposed rule does not include any specific penalties but those who refuse to comply could receive citations or be arrested for criminal trespass.