Communications Program Manager
Kirkland, Wash. – The Kirkland City Council will be discussing an ordinance restricting the discharge of firearms within the Kirkland city limits during its City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7.
The proposed ordinance would generally prohibit the discharge of firearms except for police officers in the exercise of their duties, the constitutional right of individuals to defend themselves and others, and the discharge of firearms at licensed shooting ranges.
Firearms are regulated primarily at the state level, though state law does give local governments, like the City of Kirkland, the ability to regulate firearms in certain limited areas. One such area is the ability to prohibit the discharge of firearms in portions of a city where there is a reasonable likelihood of jeopardy to humans, domestic animals and property. As part of the City’s ongoing efforts to actively support gun safety and responsible gun ownership in Kirkland, the Council is considering whether significant growth in Kirkland has resulted in there no longer being safe locations in the city to shoot guns (outside of licensed shooting ranges).
In its current form, the ordinance would rely on the state law definition of “firearm,” which applies only to devices that shoot projectiles, such as bullets, through use of an explosive, such as gunpowder. Violation of the ordinance would constitute a misdemeanor, which is generally punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, but citations and prosecutions under the ordinance would involve significant officer and prosecutorial discretion depending on the facts and circumstances.
Many cities in Washington have adopted similar ordinances, including the nearby cities of Redmond and Bellevue. These ordinances typically create exceptions for police officers and shooting ranges, while also recognizing the constitutional right to defend self and others.
The draft ordinance was discussed by the City Council at its April 2 meeting and is expected to be considered again for possible final action at its May 7 meeting. To view the information included in the April 2 Council packet visit the City website at: http://bit.ly/CouncilApril2. A current draft of the ordinance to be discussed at the May 7 meeting will be available on the City website prior to the meeting.