King County will require gun sellers and ranges to post signs warning about the danger of firearms.
The King County Board of Health voted unanimously Thursday to pass the regulation, describing it as the first of its kind on the West Coast.
The regulation is set to take effect next month, though Public Health — Seattle & King County does not yet have the budget to enforce it.
Metropolitan King County Councilmember Joe McDermott proposed the regulation in July, saying he hoped it would help spread information in the same way that health-warning labels on cigarette packs have.
“We need to be open and honest about the harm that guns can cause,” McDermott said in a statement.
The signs will read, “WARNING: The presence of a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic violence disputes and unintentional deaths to children, household members and others.”
They’ll also need to provide information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The signs will need to be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size and use at least 48-point type. They’ll need to be posted at the entrance of gun stores and ranges and in at least one additional area.
Gun sellers and ranges that violate the regulation will be given an initial warning and then be subject to civil fines of up to $100 per violation.
Board of Health regulations apply to all of the county’s 39 cities and to its unincorporated areas.
Public Health staff have estimated they would need about $263,000 to enforce the new regulation for all 236 licensed gun sellers, including those without brick-and-mortar locations.
The staff have estimated they would need about $218,000 to enforce it only for those with brick-and-mortar locations. Public Health currently has the budget for neither option.
“Now that the regulation has passed, (Public Health) will work on implementation,” said David Shurtleff, spokesman for the county council. “This could include a funding request made to council or a request to authorize them to shift existing resources.”
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