King County approves gun warning sign requirement

Warning signs must be posted in all King County gun stores and firing ranges.

Sound Publishing file photo

Sound Publishing file photo

Gun stores in King County will be required to post warning signs in their stores following the approval of a county Board of Health resolution on Nov. 15.

The regulation requires that all firing ranges and gun stores post signs notifying buyers and shooters that owning a gun could increase the risk of death by suicide, in domestic violence and by children accidentally gaining access to them. The legislation will be enforced within 30 days in all cities and unincorporated areas in King County, according to the Board of Health.

A similar measure was recently proposed by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott this summer requiring signs that say there’s an increased risk of intentional or unintentional death in homes with guns. The signs will also have contact information for Crisis Connections, an emotional health crisis hotline that can provide support.

“We need to be open and honest about the harm that guns can cause. This means acknowledging there is risk in owning a gun, often for the people who live in the home that gun is intended to protect,” McDermott said in a press release. “The goal of this law is to ensure people are aware of the risk, and those who may find themselves in a crisis can quickly find the help they need so that it doesn’t end in harm and tragedy for themselves or others.”

Some gun advocates take issue with the effectiveness of the measure, including Jason Cazes, owner of LowPriceGuns in Bellevue. Cazes said the measure may do little, if anything, to prevent gun violence or accidental deaths. In the case of children gaining access to guns, Cazes said the responsibility is on parents to secure their firearms. He also said he may post his own signs in his store along with the newly required safety warnings.

“Having a gun present may increase your chance of not getting raped or being the victim of a violent crime,” he said in an interview Thursday. “One side says increasing the risk of suicide, fatal domestic violence, it’s like what about the person protecting themselves from domestic violence?”

Cazes said he wants to see the opposing sides of the gun debate work together to find solutions. He has a nine-point solution posted on his website, which includes suggestions like raising the age of all gun sales to 21, consolidating all background checks into a single system and to create a national database for stolen guns.

Cazes raised the age to purchase any gun in his store to 21 earlier this year, and said that decision has caused blowback from some in the gun community.

“I got a lot of hate from gun people as a result of that,” he said.

The warning sign requirement is the latest in a quickly growing list of laws in King County which have been approved in recent years. Other measures that were recently passed include a requirement for gun owners to securely store all firearms in a safe; that the Sheriff’s Office destroy forfeited weapons; a youth-led report on reducing gun violence; and the formation of a task force to identify other public health prevention strategies.

On Nov. 6, the statewide Initiative 1639 was approved by Washington state voters. I-1639 requires all gun owners to safely store their guns in safes. If an unauthorized person gains access to the gun and uses it to commit a crime, the gun owner can be charged with either misdemeanor or felony negligence. It also requires local law enforcement to be notified when a semi-automatic rifle is purchased and must then authorize a buyer to purchase the firearm. Owners of semi-automatic rifles are further subjected to annual verifications that they are allowed to keep the gun, but specific guidelines were not included in the legislation.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot
King County weather: Dec. 3-5

Here is your King County area weather forecast for Dec. 3-5, 2021.… Continue reading

Keith Wagoner
Senator becomes first GOP candidate for secretary of state

Sen. Keith Wagoner will challenge Democrat Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the statewide post in November

The Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center is located at 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
FEMA to send mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit to Western Washington

The mobile site is set to open Dec. 20 in Federal Way; additional locations to come.

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Washington health officials discuss response to new COVID variant

Things will be handled with Omicron variant similar to the Delta variant.

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

Ondina project design rendering (courtesy of Vulcan Real Estate)
Multi-family housing development breaks ground in BelRed Corridor

The 249-unit project will be right next to the future location of the BelRed Light Rail Station.

left: Lynne Robinson, right: Gina Johnson (screenshot from King County website)
Lynne Robinson defends city council seat against Gina Johnson

Election results will be certified on Nov. 23.

left: Conrad Lee, right: Dexter Borbe (screenshot from King County website)
Incumbent Conrad Lee leading city council race against Dexter Borbe

Election results will be certified on Nov. 23.

Most Read