A recent tragedy in Seattle involving a pregnant woman shot by her four-year-old son could be the first in which a new Washington gun storage law may apply.

If so, the father in the case could end up facing felony criminal charges. As well as, a potential jail sentence. According to a February 3, 2019 WKBN news report, the incident occurred as the 27-year-old, eight-months pregnant mother and her boyfriend were laying in bed watching television. Their four-year-old son was also in the room. He retrieved a loaded, unsecured gun that the father kept under the mattress. The toddler pointed the weapon at the mother and pulled the trigger, hitting her in the face. After transportation to the Harborview Medical Center reports of life threatening injuries were discovered. Police have an open investigation to determine charges in accordance with the states newly passed gun storage laws.

Gun Storage Law Makes Keeping Unsecured Weapons a Felony Crime

In the November 2018 state elections, Initiative 1639 passed as a ballot measure. It garnered 60 percent of the vote. It went into effect on January 1, 2019. Targeting gun purchase and ownership requirements along with gun storage regulations, is the objective.

In addition to raising the legal age for buying a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, it  requires all gun owners to keep their weapons in a secured safe or lock box when not in use.

The owner could face criminal charges of ‘community endangerment’; if the firearm is somehow accessed by an unlawful user, such as a minor or a convicted felon.  “In the recent tragic shooting of the pregnant mother by her four-year-old, I-1639 is likely to apply,” says Seattle attorney Lennard Nahajski of the Nahajski Firm. “The father could end up facing criminal charges for keeping the firearm under the bed and will need a strong criminal defense to avoid these charges and the penalties associated with a conviction.”

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