King County presents new plan to prevent gun deaths

by: Amy Clancy Updated:


SEATTLE - It has been nearly a year since a teenager took his mother's weapons and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

On Monday, King County Executive Dow Constantine revealed that immediately after the Sandy Hook massacre, he started researching how to prevent that from happening here. The result of that effort is a new gun safety initiative called “Safe Storage Saves Lives.”

According to King County, gun violence is a public safety crisis.  So Constantine enlisted the help of Public Health – Seattle and King County, to see if gun deaths can be prevented, much like deaths from smoking or SIDS.  After a year of surveys, the new data was released Monday.

“No matter your personal opinion about guns or owning guns, we can all embrace the idea of keeping firearms safely locked and stored where kids can’t get at them,” Constantine said at a news conference.

The initiative promotes the use of gun safes and locks, and partners with retailers, such as Costco and Outdoor Emporium, which will provide discounts on some storage items. 

“Being safe with firearms is priority No. 1,” Outdoor Emporium co-owner Mike Coombs told KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy, “and locking them up is being smart and safe.”

Dave Workman of the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue agreed. “That’s the message that we’ve been sending for generations; don’t store loaded guns laying around,” he said. 

“If this is a voluntary program, we don’t have any problem with this,” Workman added. “I can’t see how any gun owner would really have a problem with it because all the gun owners I know store them unloaded, and store them separately from the ammunition.”  But he said his organization would most likely fight against any efforts to turn the voluntary program into a new state law.


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