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Seattle Bans Guns at Park & Rec Facilities

"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."--Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (left)
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A ban on guns, specifically to protect children, went into effect Oct. 14, 2009 for "certain Seattle park facilities." The facilities include:

213 ballfields
139 playgrounds and play areas
82 outdoor tennis and basketball courts
30 wading pools and water play areas
26 community centers
10 pools
9 swimming beaches
6 late-night rec sites
5 golf courses
3 teen-life centers
2 skate parks
Tennis center, performing arts center
Environmental learning centers

As with all laws, the ban has its critics; some questioned its "legality."
The ban includes those with permits to carry concealed weapons.

The city's position, said Mayor Nickels, is that a municipal-property owner by the city can impose a ban on firearms as a condition of entry to a park and rec facility, particularly those where children and young people are likely to be.

The office of the Washington State Attorney General has a different position. In a 2008 opinion, the office noted state law pre-empts local authority to adopt firearms regulations.

The parks and recreation facilities where the ban is in effect will have signs posted, according to the mayor's office. The signs will first go up at community centers, then pools, popular play areas and ballfields. The mayor's office expects all the signs up by Dec. 1.

A news release from the mayor's office stated that if a person enters one of the designated park and rec facilities with a firearm, that person will be asked to leave by parks employees or by a police officer.

While it seems unlikely an officer would be on hand, if said gun toting person doesn't leave, the person could be cited or arrested for criminal trespass.

Four gun-rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, are suing the city of Seattle and Mayor Greg Nickels over the new gun ban.

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November 18, 2019, 10:34 am PDT

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