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New Program Helps Seattle Businesses Ban Guns in Stores


Dozens of businesses in Seattle are turning their backs on customers who carry guns. They’ve signed onto a new “gun-free zone” program launched by Washington Ceasefire with the support of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Businesses can register for the program by signing up on Ceasefire website and posting a "no guns allowed inside" decal on their windows.

State law preempts the city from banning guns in publicly-owned places. But private businesses can set up rules dictating who can come inside, similar to how establishments can say "no service" to someone not wearing a shirt.

Ceasefire board president Ralph Fascitelli says the program won't stop a "predetermined killer,” but it could diminish the chances of, say, an argument escalating into something lethal. He said gun violence claims more than 31,000 lives every year in the country.

McGinn said the city has tried running gun stings, imposing stronger criminal penalties, and reaching out to the state Legislature to toughen local gun laws as ways to reduce gun violence. This program, he added, is one way businesses can protect patrons and create safe places.

Alan Gottlieb with the Citizens Committee for the Right to

Keep and Bear Arms called the program “political theater.” He said the program targets law-abiding gun owners and could leave citizens defenseless.

Dave Workman, an editor and local guns right advocate with the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, said the program would alienate gun owners and their supporters and that it doesn't make good business sense. He said more than 400,000 adults have concealed pistol licenses in the state.

Café Racer, the Ravenna café where four people were gunned down last year, is among the businesses that have bought into the voluntary program.

Florangela Davila is KNKX’s news director. A journalist in Seattle since 1992, she’s earned numerous individual and team honors in print, online and broadcast, most recently three regional Murrows for KNKX.