SENATE BILL 5164
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators Talmadge and Moore.
Read first time January 22, 1991. Referred to Committee on Law & Justice.
AN ACT Relating to access to firearms by minors; adding new sections to chapter 9.41 RCW; creating a new section; prescribing penalties; and providing an effective date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that placing firearms within the reach or easy access of children is irresponsible and encourages accidents that result in serious injury or death. Legislative action is necessary to prohibit negligently stored firearms and to protect the safety of our children.
(2) It is the intent of the legislature that adult citizens of the state retain their constitutional right to keep and bear firearms for hunting and sporting activities and for defense of self, family, home, and business, and as collectibles. Nothing in sections 2 through 5 of this act shall be construed to reduce or limit any existing right to purchase and own firearms, or to provide authority to any state or local agency to infringe upon the privacy of any family, home, or business, except by lawful warrant.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1) A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in RCW 9.41.010, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the child's parent or the person having charge of the child or without the supervision required by law shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on the body.
(2) It is a misdemeanor if a person violates subsection (1) of this section by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a child gains access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the child's parent or the person having charge of the child, and possesses or exhibits it, without the supervision required by law:
(a) In a public place; or
(b) In a reckless or criminally negligent manner.
This subsection does not apply if the child obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. Whoever violates section 2 of this act by storing or leaving a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child, if the child obtains the firearm and uses it to inflict injury or death upon himself or herself or any other person, shall be guilty of a class C felony under chapter 9A.20 RCW. However, this section does not apply:
(1) If the firearm was stored or left in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure, or was securely locked with a trigger lock;
(2) If the child obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person;
(3) To injuries resulting from target or sport shooting accidents or hunting accidents; or
(4) To members of the armed forces, national guard, or state militia, or to police or other law enforcement officers, with respect to firearm possession by a child which occurs during or incidental to the performance of their official duties.
When any child is accidentally shot by another family member, no arrest shall be made pursuant to this subsection prior to seven days after the date of the shooting. With respect to any parent or guardian of any deceased child, the investigating officers shall file all findings and evidence with the prosecuting attorney's office with respect to violations of this section. The prosecuting attorney shall evaluate such evidence and shall take such action as he or she deems appropriate under the circumstances and may file charges against the appropriate parties.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) Upon the retail commercial sale or retail transfer of any firearm, the seller or transferor shall deliver a written warning to the purchaser or transferee, which warning states, in block letters not less than one-fourth inch in height:
"IT IS UNLAWFUL, AND PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT AND FINE, FOR ANY ADULT TO STORE OR LEAVE A FIREARM IN ANY PLACE WITHIN THE REACH OR EASY ACCESS OF A CHILD."
(2) Any retail or wholesale store, shop, or sales outlet which sells firearms must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning in block letters not less than one inch in height:
"IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR LEAVE A FIREARM IN ANY PLACE WITHIN THE REACH OR EASY ACCESS OF A CHILD."
(3) Any person or business knowingly violating a requirement to provide warning under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. As used in sections 2 through 4 of this act, "child" means any person under the age of sixteen.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. Sections 2 through 5 of this act are each added to chapter 9.41 RCW.