How are guns stored in King County homes?

Across all of King County, more than 1 in 5 adults reported keeping a gun in or around their homes, including in a car or other motor vehicle.  But where they lived made a big difference: Keeping a gun at home was least likely in Seattle neighborhoods (14%) and most likely in rural areas in east and south King County, with the highest rate (43%) in Covington / Maple Valley and Newcastle / Four Creeks.

To help gun owners protect their children and neighbors against accidental shooting, access by children, firearm suicides, and firearm theft, Public Health – Seattle & King County is partnering with firearms retailers, elected and tribal leaders, local hospitals, and law enforcement on the LOK-IT-UP safe storage initiative.

The same survey that asked about keeping guns around the home also asked how those guns were stored. In 2015 —

  • 43% of respondents with guns at home (about 150,000 people) said they stored at least one gun unlocked
  • 31% (about 105,000 people) stored at least one gun loaded
  • 15% (about 51,000 people) stored at least one gun unlocked and loaded

So we have room for improvement. While opinions are divided about gun legislation, we are united in wanting our children, families, schools, and communities to be safe.  

For more information about LOK-IT-UP, see the 10/31/2017 Public Health Insider blog; for background information about gun-violence prevention, see King County’s Gun Violence Prevention Initiative. Communities Count has just introduced two new indicators, with interpretive narrative, under the Public Safety topic: Homes with guns  and Carrying weapons at school.  These indicators, plus data on Not feeling safe at school, are also available at Public Health’s Community Health Indicators site. The LOK-IT-UP site provides information on how to get discounts on storage devices and lock boxes through December of 2018.

Homelessness emergency declared in Seattle / King County

This morning Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine proclaimed that regional homelessness has reached a “state of emergency.”  Such proclamations are usually reserved for natural disasters, but Murray explained that local deaths related to homelessness have surpassed those caused by natural disasters in 2015.  Both the county and the city plan to increase funding for homelessness services, and will work to secure support from Washington state and the federal government.  An additional $5.3 million from the sale of city property will be used to address homelessness issues.  About half of those funds will be applied to homelessness prevention efforts.

According to the Seattle Times, last January’s One Night Count reported “3,772 men, women and children without shelter in King County, including more than 2,800 in Seattle – a 21 percent increase over 2014.”  When Communities Count reported on student homelessness in the 2012-2013 school year, 6,188 students in King County public schools were homeless.  According to the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, that number increased to 6,448 in 2013-2014.