The new Mountlake Terrace City Hall will have a public locker to temporarily store firearms for those attending local government meetings who choose to bring a firearm but don’t have a concealed weapon permit.
Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1630 into law restricting the possession of weapons in certain public locations. It prohibits openly carrying weapons at local government meetings such as city council assemblies – although people with a valid concealed pistol license will still be allowed to carry such firearms. The law also bans the possession of weapons at school board meetings and election ballot counting facilities.
The restrictions include exemptions for law enforcement officers and military personnel.
Violations are punishable as a misdemeanor for the first offense and as a gross misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.
City Manager Scott Hugill said the new law prompted the city to install a device for the public to temporarily store firearms at the new city hall. He noted, “If someone comes in with an open carry firearm and they have no place to store it, such as their car, we are providing a locker for it to be stored during that meeting.”
“Really the intent (of the state law) is not to have firearms serve as a tool of intimidation during public discourse,” Hugill added. “So that’s a change we will be implementing at city hall here for a storage locker of firearms in case someone comes to a meeting, or just comes to city hall, and has no place to store their firearm.”
Final preparations, including signage and procedures, are being made at the new city hall for when it fully opens up to the public and the city council returns to holding in-person meetings, which is anticipated to be next month.
— By Nathan Blackwell
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