Guns Now Allowed In Bremerton Parks, Sort Of

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The “sort of” comes from the fact that the city had, until very recently, a rule on the books banning guns from parks, but an opinion from the state attorney general in essence says they cannot be banned from these public places.

Additionally, a story in the Seattle P-I earlier this month even said that cities haven’t been able to ban guns in parks for 47 years, although a source in the story said dozens of cities do it anyway.

Until tonight, Bremerton was one of them.

The City Council voted Wednesday to change the language in the city code, nixing the ban. It was done as part of a “consent calendar,” which is a list of measures the council as a whole agrees upon. They are not dealt with individually, the whole package is approved with a single vote.

The measure is a brief one page, explaining that the city’s law is to jibe with state law (RCW 9.41.300), a passage that does not explicitly prohibit cities from taking this step.

It does say, however:

Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:

(b) Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to: (those with concealed weapon permits)

In the opinion, Attorney General Rob McKenna referred to RCW 9.41.290, which shoots city bans in the stomach with “Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted …”

The council approved the calendar 8-0.

It is still illegal to shoot a gun in a city park, unless it is part of the class of “small bore arms” and is for an occasion authorized by the park director “at designated times and places suitable for their use.”

And a person can’t carry a concealed weapon in public without a state-issued permit.

This comes as Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said he will ban guns in parks following a shooting last May at the city’s annual Folklife Festival where 22-year-old man with a concealed carry permit and history of mental illness shot and wounded two people.

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