Seattle ‘Gun Free Zone’ program for businesses launches on Capitol Hill — UPDATE

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Ralph Fascitelli of Washington CeaseFire at the podium with Mayor Mike McGinn and Pike/Pine business owner Mike Meckling (Image: CHS)

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UPDATE: In a news conference at Oddfellows, Pike/Pine business owner Mike Meckling joined the head of Washington CeaseFire and Seattle’s mayor to be part of the announcement of the city’s new Gun Free Zone program.

“It’s good for safety, it’s good for customers, it’s good for employees’ state of mind,” Meckling said of the program.

The owner of Neumos and several other components of the neighborhood’s entertainment district said he hopes Capitol Hill’s embrace of the new program to raise awareness of individual business rights to prohibit firearms helps make the “more and more popular” neighborhood feel like a “a place to come and feel safe.”

Original report: The group working to change Washington’s gun laws at the state level responsible for anti-gun advertisements on Metro buses is launching its new business-focused firearm control campaign on Capitol Hill.

Representatives from Washington CeaseFire will join incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn at Oddfellows Cafe Monday morning to announce Seattle’s new Gun Free Zone program:

Washington CeaseFire Launches Seattle Gun Free Zone Program

Voluntary program will help businesses protect patrons from gun violence

SEATTLE-Today Washington CeaseFire, joined by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, announced the launch of a new program designed to help local businesses become “Gun Free Zones.” Businesses can opt into the program by visiting www.washingtonceasefire.org, signing the pledge to participate, and placing a “Gun Free Zone” decal in their window.

Dozens of businesses including Neumos, Oddfellows, Elliott Bay Books, Cupcake Royale and Café Racer have signed up to participate.

“We’re making a statement as a community” said Washington CeaseFire Board President Ralph Fascitelli. “We know this won’t stop someone determined to cause violence, but we hope that standing together and giving businesses a tool to say no to guns will change the conversation around gun violence. Maybe our message will even make it to Olympia – we need better tools now to stop gun violence in our community.”

Gun violence claims more than 31,000 lives every year in our country. In King County alone, more people die every year from gun violence than from motor vehicle collisions.  This violence takes an enormous emotional and financial toll on victims and their families.  Between 2007 and 2011, the estimated annual cost of firearms deaths and hospitalizations in King County was $177 million.

“We are here to support businesses that do not wish to have guns on their premises” said McGinn. “The police department regularly enforces trespass laws when a visitor to a business violates that business’s rules. We will continue to do so, and I thank these businesses for standing up for the safety of their customers.”

The group's Metro campaign (Image: Washington CeaseFire)

The group’s Metro campaign (Image: Washington CeaseFire)

Under the new program, owners will be able to opt into a program that will give their businesses a legal and civic framework to ban guns from their restaurants, bars, clubs, salons and stores. Signs will be posted on the premise and existing trespass rights will be enforced for anybody who decides not to comply with the rules. You can read more about the existing SPD criminal trespassing program here.

A 19-year-old man died after being hit in what the shooter said was an accidental shooting in front of the  Linda Derschang-owned cafe in July.

UPDATE: The program is being funded by Washington CeaseFire and will not received additional budget from the city.

It plugs into existing trespassing programs enforced by SPD that give business owners the right to prohibit specific behaviors on their premises — No shoes, no shirt, no service. Meanwhile, it is already illegal to carry a weapon in to a bar in Washington state. If a person decides to break the rules, the business can call police and have that person removed and, if necessary, arrested.

Monday morning, Ralph Fascitelli of Washington CeaseFire said the program was part of a “culture war” to “address the culture of gun violence.” He said his group would increasingly ask neighborhoods to get involved in this culture war.

The move comes as city officials look for local solutions to curb gun violence as efforts in Olympia and in Washington D.C. continue to be stymied.

P.S. — Maybe the R Place sign should be amended:


r place, a gay bar, originally uploaded by quite peculiar.

49 thoughts on “Seattle ‘Gun Free Zone’ program for businesses launches on Capitol Hill — UPDATE

  1. This will have ZERO positive impact. Guns are already prohibited from bars and clubs and we’ve seen how effective *that* law is. This decal won’t deter anyone.
    DId you know it’s legal to carry firearms as a passenger on a Metro bus?

    • I agree, it won’t do anything. But when the mouth-breathers and “responsible” people who make up the gun-owning public get completely suckered into believing every sales pitch the firearms industry has ever made and every half-baked political argument trotted out by the NRA, and they prevent even the most common-sense regulation like universal background checks… well, we’re left with pasting stickers on our windows as a deterrent.

      • Support of what? Deter what? Did stickers and bus ads stop the guy from boarding and shooting up the Metro last week? Did stickers at Cafe Racer stop the murders? I know…let’s just eliminate the police force and just put stickers on everything. “No bike stealing allowed” “No mugging” “No flashing” “No peeing on Macy’s” “No Raping” That should do it!

        This is stupid, stupid, stupid and a waste of time and energy. I’m not going to scream about gun rights. I’m going to scream about all the crazies that are allowed to roam the streets in this city. Let’s start by shutting down homeless “camps” and clear out Westlake Center, institutionalize those who need meds, jail those who need to be separated from the human race, and allow the very small number of folks remaining the goods and services they need clear the hurdle back into a healthy life.

  2. Pingback: Seattle News Journal | Program to allow Seattle businesses to ban guns in stores – KOMO News

  3. Skeptic – you’re correct that this program itself will not stop gun violence. But know that it is part of a larger campaign to change the conversation and attitudes about guns. It should be socially unacceptable to carry guns to events, restaurants, etc, regardless of whether or not our lawmakers can legislate it.

    • Carrying a gun anywhere in the city is ridiculous unless you’re a cop. Carrying a gun is for small, and small-minded men who need this accessory to assert their fragile manhood. Gangbangers, drug dealers, red necks and Republicans included. Just sayin’ Go Ceasefire. Get some pepper spray. It works.

      • Your outlook is as narrow as the mind numbed 2nd amendment zealots. Go hang out with some heat packin’ mamas in Arlington, Darrington. Could be interesting to hear their POV, if you cared to listen.

  4. “Voluntary program will help businesses protect patrons from gun violence”
    Another worthless feel good progressive program. How much of our tax money was spent on stickers and other resources, that criminals won’t read or obey.

    • Well, none of it, since Washington CeaseFire is an independent non-profit.

      You might also have seen that it’s not claiming to stop violence, but rather: “We know this won’t stop someone determined to cause violence, but we hope that standing together and giving businesses a tool to say no to guns will change the conversation around gun violence. Maybe our message will even make it to Olympia – we need better tools now to stop gun violence in our community.”

      Please read the article in entirety before posting comments in the future, it saves everyone’s time.

      • Did you see the quotes? You are incorrect or disingenuous. They do claim it will “protect patrons from gun violence”. Read the article above.

  5. Good luck with this idea…. unless of course some criminal, who be definition does not follow laws, happens to see the sign and decides this business is an easy target. You know, kind of like the shooters at Newton, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Ft Hood and Columbine all decided to target gun free zones.

    • Those places weren’t chosen because they were “gun free zones.” The killers had other reasons for choosing each of those places and would’ve done the same whether or not the place was gun free.

      • More headlines without people bothering to read the facts. Yes, more people die each year in King County due to firearms use than car accidents. But if you compare the number of people that die each year in King County due to firearm accidents to car accidents the numbers are quite different:

        Types of firearm deaths and injuries

        In King County, of all firearm deaths between 2006 and 2010, 29% were homicide and 68% were suicide. The remaining 3% were due to unintentional injuries, legal intervention, or death of undetermined intent.

        Death from unintentional firearm injuries was relatively uncommon. Between 2006 and 2010, there were two cases among King County residents.

        Of the 536 nonfatal firearm injuries between 2006 and 2010 that required hospitalizations, 15% were unintentional, 6% self-inflicted, 73% assault, and 6% other.

        Yes, you have the right to your opinion. You also have the reponsibilty to be honest and truthful. I know these are “Inconvenient Truthes” for many, but please strive to be honest in a dishonest world.

    • Carrying a gun into a business is political ideology? It is fully within the law for a business to ask someone not to bring a weapon into the business. Not only legal and Constitutional (you support the Constitution right?), but sane and practical. At Lost Lake Cafe a few weeks ago, a patron carrying a gun (fully permitted) dropped their gun on the floor in the middle of the restaurant. Two weeks later, someone shot and murdered someone a few hundred yards from the front of our business. A couple of weeks prior to that, someone unloaded several shots a block away. I’m not anti-gun. In fact, I’m a gun owner. But I am 100% for new, stricter gun laws, as well as a myriad of other reforms to address violence on our streets. Guns are only one part of that problem. The solutions are complex, and in fact the City is making many efforts to address the issue at many levels. This campaign is but one small step in that process. There is no one solution that will fix this problem, but while the government makes their own reforms, it is quite practical for groups like Ceasefire to work with businesses to address this problem however it can.

      • Not sure if you are aware but there are already laws against murder and “unloading a gun” in the city. So not sure what having a sign will do to stop someone intent on violating a real law. Oh yea, the group behind this idea already say it will do nothing so there is your answer.

        I fully support a business owners right to do most anything they choose, within the law, with their business including not allowing guns. For example if I want to ban people who wear Che shirts, because I believe he was an evil mass murderer, I should be able to do so. The issue for me though is this program is nothing more than a feel good program that is not going to solve anything. In fact, its almost certainly going to decrease safety for these businesses. Which business is a criminal, who is intent on violating the law and if someone gets hurt in the process, oh well, going to target when they rob the place or decide to shoot it up? Are they more likely to do so in one which has a sign that says Gun Free where there is an almost 100% chance they will not get shot or one that does not and they are rolling the dice if someone is packing?

        If Gun Free Zones are such a splendid idea, why don’t we see them in the front window of house after house? The reason is because its not rational to advertise that you have no way of protecting the house where you live and the people who live there. But for some reason, we think its ok to let the criminal community know that this business and all schools are disarmed.

        And just so you know, I am not “pro gun”, I don’t own one myself. I just reserve the right to do so if I feel I need one at some point in the future.

        • Lots of words spent on something you consider meaningless and that doesn’t apply to you. Internet commenting at it’s best. This campaign’s effectiveness will be judged by how much attention it gets. Off to a great start. News media around the US is already covering it.

          • Lots of words… if by words you mean rational statements that show the program will do the opposite of its intent. And questions that you ignored. I wont speculate why you did not respond to those, I think I already know.

            One more question though…. So do you have a Gun Free zone sign in the window of your home? If not, why not, get the conversation started… and encourage the criminals to target someplace other than my house.

          • @AndrewsDad: “So do you have a Gun Free zone sign in the window of your home? If not, why not, get the conversation started… and encourage the criminals to target someplace other than my house.”

            Guns are a common target of thieves. I don’t think you really want to advertise to them.

          • Not sure you are following the conversation here. The person thinks its a wonderful idea to have a Gun Free Zone in the window of a business, not because its going to do any good but rather, to get the conversation started. So why not have one in the home? You know, get the conversation going, let the neighbors know.

            I never said you should have a “Protected by Smith and Wesson” sign to alert the neighbors and anyone walking by that there is a gun in the house. Although I would bet every last dime I have that a house that does have that sign is significantly less likely to get broken into than one with a Gun Free zone sign.

            I am sure if a gun is laying around, not secured, that is one of the first things a robber is going to go for. And I am going to be one of the first to back laws that punish irresponsible gun ownership.

            But that just makes another point against the Gun Free Zone theory and gun control in general. All gun free zones do is disarm the law abiding citizen. The criminal, the guy who just stole that gun, the guy who does not follow laws, is he going to care if its a gun free zone? If guns are outlawed in society, is he going to comply and turn in that gun he stole?

            Gun control only disarms, the law abiding citizens. Thats why crime rates and murder rates tend to be the highest in places where gun laws are the strictest, Chicago and D.C. If you can get criminals, who by definition, don’t follow laws, to comply with gun control laws, then ok, lets talk.

      • I can’t wait until someone says “no LGBT in my store”. Then you will go 180.

        You can’t pick and choose liberty. Doing so is to weaponize democracy, and you will not like the results.

        When an (R) is in the White House doing the same as (D) (and (R) before him) you will complain about the same things you are ignoring now.

    • Carrying an instrument of lethality is only a political ideology if you let the people who sold it to you sell you that idea too. If your “political ideology” requires you to carry such a weapon, I think it’s fair to say it’s not a valid political ideology, but rather a toxic cult of aggression and xenophobia. There’s a saying, “To the man with a hammer, every problem is a nail.” There are far fewer actual nails than hammer culture would like to believe.

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  7. Why is it that whenever the topic of guns come up, a whole swarm of gun enthusiasts immediately swoop in and start screaming about the myriad ways that anything less than having every single person in the country armed to the teeth is just libtard commie nonsense? You people are worse than Ron Paul voters.

    Read the article- the laws already on the books banning guns in bars, and this private initiative that other local businesses can get behind, gives police greater power (at the request of said business owners) to charge violators with trespassing. THAT’S what it does. I for one think this a great idea, and does absolutely nothing to interfere with your god-given constitutional right to sit at home polishing your 9mm and making action hero poses in the mirror, or whatever it is you people do. Meanwhile, I don’t have to worry as much about one of your guns misfiring into me while I’m just sipping a cup of coffee at Elliot Bay. Good on ‘em. And if you don’t want to patronize these businesses in response, fine by me.

    • Only a third of Washingtonians own guns and they don’t understand that they are not a protected class. The highly vocal ones also don’t want to admit that 99% of staying safe is from using your head and situational awareness. We are not all beset by criminal ninjas at every turn and just wishing there was a nearby NRA member to save the day. Completely agree with you steve, good post.

    • “A whole swarm of gun enthusiasts swoop in”? There are only 30 comments here, and half of them are for the gun-free zones. And what are they saying? That “anything less than having every single person in the country armed to the teeth is just libtard commie nonsense?” I don’t see anyone saying that, except you. Your straw man argumentation leads to disingenuous absurd statements like this: “sit at home polishing your 9mm and making action hero poses in the mirror, or whatever it is you people do.” You people, really?

  8. really? does anyone think this will work? the only people that would respect this are the law abiding citizens who have no violent/criminal intentions.

  9. I’m as anti-gun as they come, but I agree that this is only a “feel-good” plan and will have zero impact.

    I also think that there could be a terrible unintended consequence. When someone carrying a gun into a business is asked to leave, it is likely that he/she will get angry…and will then be MORE likely to fire their gun.

    • Someone with that kind of response is going to end up shooting someone, somewhere, no matter what regulations any particular establishment sets up. You can’t base gun laws & rules on tippy-toeing around insane people…

  10. Here’s a roster of the first wave of participants:
    Barboza
    Big Marios
    Brenthaven
    Bus Stop Espresso
    Cafe Paloma
    Cafe Racer
    Century Ballroom
    Elliott Bay Books
    First United Methodist Church
    Fish Fry
    Freddy’s Junior
    Havana
    Lindas
    Lost Lake
    Manhattan Seattle
    Moe Bar
    Neumo’s
    Nube Green
    Oddfellows
    Office Nomads
    Quinn’s
    Platinum Records
    Smith
    Southern Street Kids
    Sweatbox Yoga
    The Saint
    Totokaelo
    Zoe

  11. If it’s OK for a privately owned business to deny service to a customer for exercising a right, then it’s also OK to deny service to anybody.

    Now, what would happen when say, someone with religious ideals won’t make a cake for a homosexual wedding?

    We have a case like that right now.

    If you think it’s OK to pick and choose what liberty is important and what is not, you are part of the problem. If property rights only mean something when it’s about denying a right to someone else, you are part of the problem. As a private property owner I would therefore, by the precedent being set here, have the right to deny non-whites and/or LGBT from my property or business.

    If you fail to see the double-standard in this, then you don’t deserve to have a free country to live in. For the most part, we don’t. And then there is an (R) after the name of the next bankster puppet, most of you will flap about it, and never hear the reminders that whatever you are complaining about started earlier than the inauguration.

    Meanwhile, not only will these businesses be avoided, we will find out what other businesses are owned by these organizations and avoid them too.

    • A gay wedding is not a right the reckless or inexpert exercise of which may result in fatal injuries to bystanders. You have a right to carry a gun for personal protection. You also have a responsibility to your neighbors to make sure that you know what the hell you’re doing and can exercise caution and humanity in making the choice of whether and where to put holes in people. If you’re going to defend the coffee shop I’m sitting in, I’d like absolute assurance you’re not just carrying a weapon because you’re scared of marginal people or want to feel tough, and that you train regularly and rigorously for that unlikely occasion.

      • I happen to be an instructor and have trained over 1000 people. As for being scared or feeling tough, that’s for people who watch TV – from whence they also learn other myths like machine guns being readily available at any gun store (has not been the case since 1934).

        Knowing the limitations of guns, by knowing how to use them, eliminated any justification to be fearful and there’s no feeling tough just for having one present. Government relies on that thinking, which is why their minions get big black military weapons and matching uniforms. It’s up to you to be intimidated by that, like a peasant in awe of an armored knight. (Cops have shields based on this knight stuff – and knights were mainly tax collectors).

        But I am not defending you or anybody. My gun is for my defense. And looking at the attitudes around here, if there was an active shooter situation, my gun is for me and anybody with me getting out alive such that if the threat is between me and the exit, I have a chance.

        Everybody else, liking gun control and all that, can beg or try to reason or something, since they seem to think that works when dealing with someone on SSRI drugs. Notably the drug industry has way more money than the NRA but almost every windup toy is on SSRI drugs or was, yet it’s always about the guns.

        • My problem with concealed carry is that often it seems to be a solution looking for a problem. Gun ownership is constitutionally protected, and people with rage issues, while certainly a tiny minority, exist and are able to own guns. Someone defending themself from a gun-wielding attacker is just as likely to injure or kill a bystander as is the attacker, or possibly the presence of a gun may provoke gunfire from what would otherwise have been nothing more than threat-wielding. The Cafe Racer video shows that nobody had any time to react when the insane man calmly walked in and shot five people. The CC’er in the store would likely have been as dead as anyone else there. The guy didn’t walk in and announce his guns and intent to murder four or more random strangers. Yancy Knoll didn’t have a clue when Thomasdinh Bowman pulled up aside him and shot him in the head. If he’d had a gun, it would never have made a difference. Gun violence happens in an eyeblink, and the opportunities for defense are usually virtually nonexistent.
          The only legal solution is for businesses interested in minimizing all potential gun violence on their premises is to exercise their right to deny service to people of unknown skill or mental state who may or may not find some reason to discharge their deadly weapon, either in aggression or defense. You don’t like it? Pretend you can defend yourself somewhere else.

          • “The only legal solution is for businesses interested in minimizing all potential gun violence on their premises is to exercise their right to deny service to people of unknown skill or mental state who may or may not find some reason to discharge their deadly weapon, either in aggression or defense.”

            And just how do you positively prohibit folks from entering with firearms? Apparently that would require a single checkpoint @ entrance with all the scanning devices currently used – yeah, like at the airport. Maybe that’s what the mayor should be seeking attention for rather than a bunch of sticker fluff. Hmmm just another cost of doing business. Stickers and BS are cheaper however.

  12. If there is to be any meaningful conversation then we should agree to a few ground rules.
    1. Be civil, we can disagree without trying to convince the other our position.
    2. Leave all statistics and numbers out of the discussion. Both sides of the discussion mis-represet the numbers to further their position.
    3. Leave all political and religious affiliations out of the discussion.
    4. Solutions shall not infringe upon law abiding citizens rights.
    5. Solutions shall empower law abiding citizens, not municipalities or legislative bodies.

    Often times people feel helpless and ask, “what can I do”? The measure taken by the folks on Capitol Hill is a good start for them. The No Guns Allowed campaign will make them feel better because they are standing in solidarity against gun violence. I do not necessarily agree with them as I believe the attempted change being brought is misdirected. You see, the only people it will affect are the law abiding citizens which I don’t believe these businesses are trying to target. I believe the criminal element is the real target, yet not really affected by the campaign, so the question I would submit for discussion, how do you get the criminal element to change?

    This debate over gun control is insane. Gun control does not stop gun crime. Criminals don’t read the laws before breaking them; they simply ignore laws for the sake of their own selfish self centered agendas. We have got to change the way violent crimes are prosecuted. We have become a society too tolerant of capital crime. We have allowed the legal system, not the justice system, to get bogged down by repeated appeals from cold blooded killers. Reforming violent crimes begin with the criminals, the in-vogue vernacular “gun violence” transfers personal responsibility to an inanimate object incapable of violence without human intervention. The problem that should be addressed is violence, period.

    Last session the legislature strengthened felony firearm penalties amending RCW 42.56.240, reenacting and amending RCW9.41.010, adding new sections to chapter 9.41 RCW. and adding a new section to chapter 43.43 RCW. We seem to have strong laws regarding crime and subsequent penalties involving felony firearm offense, see the notes following RCW 43.70.540 regarding legislative finding and intent. Perhaps the laws are not the issue, rather the lawyers are too weak to fully prosecute these type of crimes. It is not that I do not have faith in those of us who want positive change it is the lack of trust that control the process.

    Since I have take the pro stance I submit the following for your consideration. What follows is a re-write of RCW 9.41.270. Making a few meaningful changes strengthen the law and removes current ambiguity. By doing this it empowers the law abiding citizen as it clarifies for law enforcement the “gray” area of current law. Attorney’s will no longer have to argue semantics regarding the term “unlawful” as it is now clear.

    I have tried to have this discussion before and was met with rabid opposition. I would welcome meaningful discussion.

    Whitney Slater
    Poulsbo

    Current version of the law.
    RCW 9.41.270
    Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.

    (2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:

    (a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;

    (b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;

    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;

    (d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or

    (e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

    The proposed Changes below mostly pertain to subsection (1):

    RCW 9.41.270
    Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that manifests an intent to intimidate another person.

    (2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:

    (a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;

    (b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;

    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;

    (d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or

    (e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

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  15. So seeing as how law enforcement officers carry firearms, are they prohibited from entering these businesses unless they disarm first? Are they trespassing if they enter with a weapon?

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  17. Most SPD officers laugh at this saying they hope Mayor Mcshwinn sends out a memo to the bangers saying they cant bring guns. This law is useless and all the business listed are mostly bars where it is already illegal. Mind you this is election season so this is all posturing with companies that also had campaign sings for this mayor in the last election. This is purely all for election points and will do nothing but possibly make it worse. But I can guarantee it will not make it better only the same or worse.

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