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Nickels expects December start to city gun ban

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Article here.

Nickels expects December start to city gun ban
By LEVI PULKKINEN
P-I REPORTER

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels expects to introduce a city rule change in December that would ban all guns from city buildings and parks, despite objections from state officials and gun-rights advocates.

City staff released a draft of the proposed change to reporters Friday, which shows a change in line with statements Nickels made following a nonfatal shooting at the Northwest Folklife Festival in May.

The administrative change, which would not come to a City Council vote, would ban concealed weapons from city-owned property. Roads, sidewalks and most parking areas would not be included.

In October, the state Attorney General's Office issued an opinion asserting the mayor's proposed restrictions would violate state law blocking cities from enacting gun rules. The move also caught the attention of gun-rights advocates, who see it as an attempt by Nickels to pave the way for additional prohibitions.

Regina LaBelle, legal counsel to the mayor, said the city believes it already has the legal authority to enforce the restriction, which could result in criminal trespass citations for those who repeatedly violate the rule. Still, she said, the city will be asking the Legislature to "clarify" state law during the next legislative session.

"There are a lot of other cities around the state that have demonstrated a desire for their safety in parks and buildings," LaBelle said. The rule, added, "is about trying to reduce the number of guns in circulation."

In addition to the restriction, Nickels intends to formalize restrictions already in place on gun possession at large city-permitted events. For several months, city leasing agents have required that event organizers agree to prohibit gun-toting partygoers from entering, even if the event is on a city street.

The mayor's efforts have already drawn complaints from gun-rights groups, including the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.

Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said attorneys for the group have filed a letter with the city objecting to the move. A lawsuit would likely have to wait until the city takes action.

Contrary to the mayor's view, Gottlieb said state law clearly prohibits cities from pre-empting state gun law. Allowing cities to do so, he said, would create a morass of confusing regulations.

"The mayor is beating his chest trying to make a statement that he's anti-gun," Gottlieb said. "The mayor and violent criminals in this case have something in common this time -- neither of them have any respect for the law."

Washington Ceasefire President Ralph Fascitelli disagreed, asserting, as the city has, that a 2006 state Supreme Court decision shows that cities can regulate gun carrying when the city is acting as a landlord.

"We think (Nickels) has done the best job possible, and we're excited that he's willing to put his neck on the line for this. This is a common sense law that can really protect people."

Nickels has become something of a rising star in the gun-control movement, having joined in several initiatives through the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition and organized a 2007 statewide summit on gun violence. In May, he was recognized as Washington Ceasefire's civic leader of the year.
GET INVOLVED
A public hearing on the proposed city gun restrictions will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at City Hall. Written comments can be submitted at seattle.gov/firearmsrule
<broken link removed> those comments...
 
OP
Sun195
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From the City's web page:

Following a shooting that injured three people at the Folklife Festival on May 24, Mayor Greg Nickels directed all City of Seattle departments to study the adoption and enforcement of policies, rules and contractual agreements which would prohibit the possession of dangerous weapons, including firearms on city property. The suspect in the Folklife shooting had a concealed weapons permit, despite a history of drug abuse and mental health problems.

The proposed administrative rule would prohibit the possession of firearms on most City property. The proposed rule would not apply to:

City streets and public sidewalks except when they are being used for non-transportation purposes such as special events. The rule does apply to

City sidewalks and other walkways located within city parks.
Motor vehicle parking garages and parking lots.
City property leased and occupied for residential purposes.
City-owned property that is located outside the State of Washington.
The Roger Dahl Rifle Training Range.

State law allows private property owners (which Seattle is not) to prohibit the presence of firearms on their property. As a property owner, the City has rules at Seattle Center and most city facilities such as City Hall prohibiting firearms unless a person has a concealed weapons permit. Organizations that lease Key Arena also have the ability to prohibit firearms in the facility. In addition to other prohibitions, state law prevents firearms at schools, jails and courthouses.

Policy for city property: To address the safety of visitors including families and children at city-owned properties, as well as the security of city employees, the City of Seattle is also implementing a firearms policy which is applicable to permits, leases or other contractual agreements for use of city property. Under its policy, the City would lease, rent or permit the use of city property only to those parties that prohibit all persons, except law enforcement officers, from possessing firearms on leased city premises. The City would also require sponsors of major events to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession of firearms during the event, such as providing signage, visual inspections, safe storage for lawful firearms, etc. The City would also permit departments to add-gun free terms to most leases and agreements.

Enforcement: The proposed rule does not include any specific criminal or civil penalties, but persons refusing to comply with the rule would be subject to citation or arrest for criminal trespass.

<broken link removed> (PDF)
<broken link removed> (PDF)

Public input
The city will hold a public hearing on the proposed administrative rule at 6:30 p.m. on December 15, 2008. The hearing will be held at Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, with sign-in beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Bertha Knight Landes room is accessible from the building's Fifth Avenue entrance.
 
OP
Sun195
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CCRKBA response:

SEATTLE MAYOR’S PLAN DISREGARDS STATE LAW, AG OPINION, SAYS CCRKBA

BELLEVUE, WA – A draft proposal issued Friday by Mayor Greg Nickels outlining his scheme to ignore state statute and state legislative authority over firearms regulation amounts to a slap in the face against more than 250,000 Washington state residents, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said in response.

“We’re going to review this draft proposal line-by-line,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “but even a cursory glance at the document released Friday by Mayor Nickels shows that he has chosen to arrogantly ignore the State Attorney General’s opinion. State statute clearly limits municipal authority, and the Nickels plan suggests he is attempting to be a little too clever in trying an end-run around the law.

“If Nickels pushes ahead with this scheme,” he added, “there will be two kinds of criminals in Seattle, thugs and those who win elections. Both seem to believe it’s just fine to ignore the law by playing the system.

“The outrage here is that the mayor is grossly overreacting to a single event,” Gottlieb stated, “and trying to push his personal anti-gun agenda by administrative rule, rather than submit this proposal to the city council. We believe such a rule is unenforceable and that it intentionally violates not only the letter of the law, but the spirit and intent of the law as passed by the Legislature more than 20 years ago.

“Legally-armed Washington residents, whether they live in Seattle or just visit there, have just as much right to be on public property as any other citizen,” Gottlieb observed. “Mayor Nickels cannot simply issue what amounts to an imperial edict that not only ignores the state preemption statute, but essentially strips these citizens of their state constitutional right to self-defense in places where they have a legal right to be, and the courts have already affirmed this.

“We will encourage gun owners to attend the scheduled Dec. 15 public hearing and remind Mr. Nickels that he was elected mayor of Seattle, not its monarch,” Gottlieb said.
 
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Looks like Nickels is modelling the "Unitary Executive" example set out in D.C., it's a bad fit no matter who is trying it on.

Thanks for the posts, Sun195.
 
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Nickels expects December start to city gun ban
By LEVI PULKKINEN
P-I REPORTER

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels expects to introduce a city rule change in December that would ban all guns from city buildings and parks, despite objections from state officials and gun-rights advocates.
Conspicuously absent from the first paragraph is the fact that it violates state law. Wouldn't that qualify as first-paragraph material? I think so.
 

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