Local businesses pledge to go gun-free

Photo courtesy of Oddfellowscafe.com

SEATTLE -- Local businesses are taking the pledge to stay gun free in the face of what one organization calls devastating gun violence.

Mayor Mike McGinn, Washington CeaseFire, and dozens of local businesses announced the launch of a new program designed to help local businesses become "Gun Free Zones." The program increases the number "Gun Free Zones" around the city. Once signing a petition, participating businesses will place a "Gun Free Zone" decal sticker in their business, banning all customers from carrying a weapon -- even with a valid concealed carry permit -- into the store.

Neumos, Oddfellows, Elliot Bay Books, Cupcake Royale and Cafe Racer are just a few of the businesses signed up to participate so far.

"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."

According to CeaseFire Washington, more people die from gun violence in King County each year than die in motor vehicle collisions. The estimated annual cost between 2007 and 2011 from firearms violence was $177 million.

Mayor McGinn said the city's police force will enforce trespass laws if a gun-toting citizen enters a gun-free store.

"We are here to support businesses that do not wish to have guns on their premises," McGinn said.

Washington CeaseFire is a statewide non-profit organization started in 1983.