A week after returning from a gun-control summit in New York to find his own city staggered by a spate of deadly shootings, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels pressed yesterday for stronger laws regulating firearms, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “We have such lax gun laws here,” Nickels declared, standing in front of an imposing wall of firepower — nearly 50 weapons seized by police, including a grenade launcher and modified shotguns. Speaking at the Police Department’s evidence warehouse, where about 3,000 confiscated firearms are stored, Nickels said it’s time to push state and federal legislators for tougher gun laws.
Ten people have died from gun violence in the past month alone in Seattle, with at least another 10 wounded. Nickels said state law prohibits cities from adopting any gun laws that are stricter than the state’s, and current gun laws in Washington tend to focus on punishing criminals after they’ve used a firearm in commission of a crime. “When it comes to preventing gun violence, Seattle’s hands are tied,” the mayor said. He favors a state ban on assault weapons; closing a loophole that allows firearms purchases at gun shows without a background check, something required for purchases at gun stores and other retail outlets; requiring safe gun storage, including trigger locks; and establishing a statewide database of gun-trace data — information collected by police investigators when researching the history of guns used in crimes. While the recommendations are bound to be well received in Seattle, it’s a tougher sell in rural Washington.