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Seattle gun storage law goes into effect Wednesday

Beginning Wednesday, gun owners in Seattle will be required to use a gun safe, case or lock box to store their firearms.
Police say most school shooters are young, and they arm themselves with their parents guns. So police and prosecutors in King County are trying to get guns out of the reach of potential school shooters. (Photo: KING)

Seattle's safe gun storage law goes into effect Wednesday. 

Under the law, gun owners have to secure all firearms in a container that could not be easily opened, removed, or "otherwise defeated by the use of common tools." That includes safes, gun cases or cabinets, or lock boxes.

The law includes increased penalties for "failure to report unsecured firearms that are lost, stolen, or improperly used by an unauthorized user."

The Seattle City Council approved the responsible gun storage legislation at a council meeting on July 9.

Gun owners who don't properly store their firearms face increased penalties and legal responsibility. 

Violators could be fined up to $500 if a firearm isn't locked up, up to $1,000 if a minor, "at-risk person," or unauthorized user accesses the weapon and up to $10,000 if someone uses the weapon to hurt someone or commit a crime.

According to the mayor's office, an estimated 150,000 gun owners in King County reported leaving firearms unlocked in their homes. In Seattle, more than 3,100 guns were "taken into custody" between 2015 and 2017. A total of 250 guns were reported stolen in 2017.

RELATED: What counts as 'safe storage' under Seattle's controversial gun law

The legislation was set to take effect earlier this year, but a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and two Seattle residents delayed its start.

The Associated Press reported the lawsuit alleged that the "safe storage" requirement violates Washington state law, which prevents cities from regulating guns.

In October, a King County Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit.  

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