This afternoon the Mayor’s Office sent out a press release announcing that tomorrow the city’s gun-safety legislation goes into effect. But even though it won its first round in court, the city’s legal battles over this ordinance have just begun.
This afternoon, Mayor Durkan and several of her department heads held a press briefing on preparations for two more winter storm systems: one that arrived late this afternoon, and the second to arrive midday tomorrow. Tomorrow’s is the one they are all worried about.
This morning at a press conference in City Hall, Mayor Durkan, Chief of Police Best, City Attorney Holmes and City Councilmember Gonzalez announced that they would be submitting a motion to Seattle Municipal Court to vacate 208 outstanding low-level misdemeanor arrest warrants.
There was a lot happening today. New department directors, new protections for domestic workers, support for dairy workers, discussion of the proposed Waterfront LID, and what SPD is doing about recent “shots fired” incidents in the Central District.
In 2016, the City Council added money into the 2017-2018 city budget to revive the highly regarded Community Service Officer program, with a target roll-out in the second half of this year. But Mayor Durkan has delayed that plan, and suggested that her budget priorities may lie elsewhere.
Well that didn’t take long.
Today, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation jointly filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves, their members residing in Seattle, and two named individuals challenging the city’s ordinance requiring firearms to be locked up when not in the personal possession of their owner or an authorized user.
For each of the past three years, a Seattle University research team has conducted a survey of Seattle residents to assess their views on public safety issues in their communities and on the police. Called the Seattle Public Safety survey, it is commissioned by the Seattle Police Department as part of their Micro-Community Policing Plan (MCPP) to help it understand how best to engage with each neighborhood in Seattle. The most recent survey was fielded last October and November, and the results were published last month. Yesterday, representatives from the Seattle University team and from SPD briefed the City Council on the report. The briefing was high-level, but there’s an ocean of data on individual neighborhoods included, so here’s a deeper dive into what’s notable and meaningful in this year’s report.
This afternoon the City Council passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to securely store their firearms at home when not being carried. As I wrote previously, this is a perfectly reasonable idea, but it’s beyond the authority of the city to enact it because state law preempts cities from passing their own gun regulations.
This afternoon in an interview I asked City Attorney Pete Holmes for his legal argument as to why the city has the power to enact this ordinance in the face of a state law that clearly prohibits it.
The two gun-safety bills that Mayor Durkan and Council member Gonzalez announced last month passed out of committee this morning with minor amendments, and will come up before the full City Council for final approval on July 9th. But even if they pass, as is likely, one is all but guaranteed to be overturned in court.