City starts implementing new parks/community-center gun rule

Just in from the city – the rule banning guns at “facilities where children and youth are likely to be present” is starting to take effect. The city says the rule won’t be in effect at any specific facility until it is posted there; one of the first two places where the notices will go up is South Park Community Center, and all other affected facilities will be posted by Dec. 1, according to the announcement, which you can read in its entirety ahead:

Mayor Greg Nickels today announced that Seattle Parks and Recreation has put into effect a new rule which prohibits the possession or display of firearms at designated facilities where children and youth are likely to be present, such as playgrounds, community and environmental learning centers, sportsfields and courts, swimming beaches, pools, water play areas, skateparks, and golf courses.

“When children and families visit a Seattle Parks and Recreation pool, playground, community center or other facility, they are entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety,” said Nickels. “It’s common sense to prohibit guns in places where kids and young adults play and learn.”

Firearms will be prohibited at designated facilities only after signs are posted notifying visitors of the new rule. By noon on Friday, signs will be posted at South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Ave. S; Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St.; and Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N.

The signs will be posted in phases, beginning with community centers, pools and the most intensively used play areas and ballfields. All designated facilities will be posted by Dec. 1.

Anyone who enters one of the posted facilities with a gun will be asked by Parks personnel or Seattle police officers to leave the areas where firearms are prohibited. If they refuse to leave, they may be subject to citation or arrest for criminal trespass by Seattle police. Designated facilities that will be covered by the rule include:

* 26 community centers

* four environmental learning centers

* 10 pools

* 30 wading pools and water play areas

* two small craft centers

* two specialized facilities (tennis center, performing arts center)

* 139 playgrounds and play areas

* 213 ballfields

* six late night recreation sites

* three teen life centers

* 82 outdoor tennis and basketball courts

* two skateparks

* five golf courses

* nine swimming beaches

In 2008, more than 1.8 million people visited and attended programs in Parks-owned community centers, pools, teen life centers and environmental learning centers. More than 108,000 children and youth visited wading pools and more than 59,000 youth events were scheduled at sports fields.

In June, a group of teen boys flashed a gun at several girls outside of the Alki Community Center.

Last December, a former Franklin High School basketball player was shot in the face outside the Garfield Community Center.

In 2004, a woman was shot dead at a Red Cross shelter set up in the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill.

After a man shot and injured three people at the 2008 Folklife Festival, Nickels directed city departments to evaluate rules, policies and leases related to guns.

The suspect in last year’s shooting had a concealed weapons permit and a history of mental health problems.

In 2008, the city introduced a policy requiring organizations that lease Seattle Center and other city property to take reasonable steps to prohibit guns during their events. If individuals bring guns to special events at Seattle Center, such as the Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot and the Bite of Seattle, they may safely store their guns in lock boxes provided at the Seattle Center. The lease policy has been
formalized as an executive order.

A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that people who carried guns for self-defense were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than those not possessing guns. This study shows that guns increase the risk of injury and death even if those guns are possessed for lawful self-defense purposes only.

Nickels has urged lawmakers in Olympia to ban assault weapons, require criminal background checks at gun shows and require trigger locks and safe storage of firearms. Nickels has long advocated tougher laws that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. In April, the state legislature passed a law prohibiting the possession of firearms by adults and juveniles who are involuntarily committed for 14 days or more for mental health treatment.

The city of Seattle has been actively working on local, regional and national strategies to reduce gun violence. Nickels is a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is promoting federal legislation to assist law enforcement in combating gun trafficking.

8 Replies to "City starts implementing new parks/community-center gun rule"

  • rob October 14, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    wow. that announcement is so full of stinky stuff i don’t know where one could start.

  • Adam October 14, 2009 (5:02 pm)

    So basically, if you carry concealed you continue to have no problems and break no laws. What’s the point of this ridiculous legislation again? Thanks for wasting taxpayer dollars!

  • Mark October 14, 2009 (7:07 pm)

    This rule will not stand up. AG McKenna said so. Waste of $$$. Thanks Lame Duck!

  • MP October 14, 2009 (7:15 pm)

    oh ok so you WANT guns in places where kids play? maybe you want them in schools too? read the research. what’s stinky?
    hmmm…. right on Nickels. sad to see him go.

  • rockyraccoon October 14, 2009 (7:40 pm)

    Just an incredibly stupid, feel-good law. Fortunately, law-abiding citizens with permits will mostly continue to carry in these areas, knowing their ability to defend themselves and others is far more important that obeying some useless and soon to be rescinded law.

  • wasteofmoney October 14, 2009 (8:24 pm)

    Last year, the state AG issued an opinion that Nickels’ proposed ban of guns on city property would be illegal under state law. ( … e&id=21188) The AG has already said that this new rule would also be illegal. ( … 179670.asp)
    Seems highly likely this will fail a court challenge.

  • rob October 15, 2009 (9:23 am)

    I have read the study. It was a very narrow study, and few if any of the incidences they reviewed really apply in regard to this. Even more troubling is the mayor’s office passing it off as an absolute, and tying it to their effort since it is the only thing they could find that vaguely supports this. If they were being the least bit honest, they would have offered a summation of the study in their reference to it, but they didn’t because there’s no way to do that without showing how it doesn’t apply. They have paraphrased the conclusion with a twisted interpretation to support their very thin argument.

    Worse still is fearmongering by listing the incidences you see above, none of which would have been prevented by these rules at all. How exactly is a rule preventing someone from carrying a gun into a community center going to prevent the two incidents they mention above that occurred, according to their own statement, outside the community center?

    All of the incidences they list above were acts which were already illegal, and in all but one of the cases the person was breaking the law by even having a gun in the first place. If the laws those people were already breaking did nothing to prevent their actions, how are these rules going to do anything?

    Don’t you have a problem with your government trying to convince you something is necessary with lies?

    I appreciate sensible laws that make us all safer, but this isn’t going to do anything to make anyone safer.

    These rules are an extremely thin, false sense of security, and they will accomplish nothing except getting the city sued. When they lose, we all get to pay the bill.

    I think this would be a good rule of thumb for mayors everywhere: When your state attorney general sees the need to take it upon himself to tell you that what you are proposing to do is against state law, you should probably listen.

  • Doc October 15, 2009 (4:51 pm)

    I always love how they cite murders or attacks with guns when they are trying to implement a gun-free zone. Making a park a gun-free zone will only keep out the people who would legally carry. If your intent is to kill or injure someone with a weapon or to use it for stree cred, whatever, a gun-free zone is not going to stop you from having the gun!

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