WA State Bill Would Charge Parents for Child’s Crime with Gun

A bill in Washington State would penalize parents whose children used a gun in their home to harm others.  The bill is setting off a debate even among gun supporters.

Child safety gun law divides gun owners, legislators


Could a bill under consideration in the Legislature have saved the life of a Kelso 13-year old had it been in effect last October?

HB 1122 would make it a gross misdemeanor for parents if children use an easily accessible firearm to threaten or injure a person unless it is used in self-defense. The law also would require all firearm dealers to offer to sell or provide a lockbox, trigger lock or other device that prevents the weapon from firing. No one would be required to purchase them.

Supporters of the bill, which would also require stricter storage of firearms in homes, say parents should have a legal obligation to keep guns locked away from children.

Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), who sponsored the bill, compared the proposal to other safety laws that have changed public behavior.

“We have dramatically impacted the number of children dying in cars, because we have seat belt laws and car seat laws,” Kagi said. “And those laws have made a very significant difference in child safety… We have required that there be safe caps on aspirin and Drano, but we don’t do anything about the most dangerous thing in the house.”

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