Once again, Democrat lawmakers in Washington State are pushing legislation that essentially micromanages the way gun owners store their firearms, under the guise of child safety.
Previous measures have failed, which should send a signal to Olympia that there are better ways to accomplish this. One of those approaches is unfolding right now in Oklahoma, where the National Shooting Sports Foundation has joined forces with Gov. Mary Fallin and local law enforcement officials to launch the Project ChildSafe Communities. It’s the kickoff of a national initiative “designed to encourage responsible firearm ownership with an emphasis on secure firearm storage,” according to The Outdoor Wire.
But in the Evergreen State, Democrats have been pressing so-called “safe storage” legislation for several years. In the past, the sales pitch has centered on child safety, but this time around the argument has been expanded, to prevent mass shootings.
According to the press release issued by State Sen. Guy Palumbo (D-Maltby):
“SB 5463/HB1122 encourages responsible gun storage by creating potential for criminal liability if an unsecured firearm is used to hurt or kill someone. This is based on successful policies in Florida and 28 other states which have helped keep guns out of dangerous hands.
“Under this legislation, firearms dealers would have to offer to sell gun purchasers a lock box or device that prevents the firearm from discharging. They would also have to post notices in their stores that failure to store a weapon properly or leave the weapon unsecured could result in criminal prosecution.
“SB 5463/HB 1122 would not mandate how a firearm should be stored — just require that adults take the responsibility of storing firearms in ways that they can’t be easily found by kids or anyone prohibited from possessing a firearm.”
Seattle Democrat Rep. Ruth Kagi is sponsoring the House legislation.
The legislation invents the new crime of “community endangerment due to unsafe storage of a firearm.”
But why demonize firearms and penalize their owners? Why not extend the same threat of liability to someone who leaves rat poison or chlorine bleach where toddlers might get access and consume it? How about someone who leaves the car keys on a desk or countertop, where they can be grabbed by someone for a joyride, or by a burglar who later crashes a stolen car into a group of people?
Most important question of all: Why must the state mandate this sort of thing? Is it just to make it appear that they are “doing something” about guns? Opponents to these safe storage bills have repeatedly complained that they are a “one-size-fits-all” solution that even Kagi acknowledged will not prevent all gun-related tragedies.
Meanwhile, Project ChildSafe Communities is supported by a $2.4 million grant by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the NSSF said. Oklahoma law enforcement agencies will be supplied with thousands of gun locks that will be distributed at public events, and there will be educational information available.
NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has involved partnerships with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies and 3,400-plus “organizational supporters,” the organization said.