Gun ban at Seattle parks facilities goes into effect A ban on guns in certain Seattle park facilities, specifically to protect children, went into effect today, according to the mayor's office.
By Seattle Times staff
A ban on guns in certain Seattle park facilities, specifically to protect children, went into effect today, according to the mayor's office.
The move, which has drawn criticism including questions about its legality, affects hundreds of playgrounds, community centers, sports fields, swimming pools and water-play areas.
"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," Mayor Greg Nickels said in a news release. "It's common sense to prohibit guns in places where kids and young adults play and learn."
The gun ban, a new rule by Parks and Recreation, will be in effect only at facilities where signs have been posted, according to to the news release.
Community centers will get the first signs, followed by pools, popular play areas, and ballfields. The mayor's office said all facilities should have the signs by Dec. 1.
The first signs are expected to go up Friday at South Park Community Center, Garfield Community Center and Bitter Lake Community Center
If someone with a gun enters one of the designated facilities, he or she will be asked by parks employees or Seattle police officers to leave. If the person won't leave, he or she could be cited or arrested for criminal trespass, according to the mayor's office.
Nickels has argued that state law does not prohibit a property owner from imposing conditions on possessing firearms on his or her property.
The city's position, Nickels has said, is that a municipal property owner such as Seattle may impose limits on firearms as a condition of entry or use of particular facilities, particularly those where children and youths are likely to be.
State Attorney General Rob McKenna, however, has disagreed.
In a statement released in mid-September, he said he has a history of working to protect children's safety, but "as Mayor Nickels is aware, the Attorney General's Office issued an opinion in 2008, which found that state law pre-empts local authority to adopt firearms regulations, unless specifically authorized by law."
The opinion won't stop Nickels from invoking his ban, said Janelle Guthrie, with the AG's office. However, she said, the opinion holds the weight of law and could be used if the law is challenged, as gun advocates have vowed to do.
The facilities that will be covered under 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 skate parks
• Five golf courses
• Nine swimming beaches
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
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This sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
The other thread has more discussion going on.