Washington State Convention Center, Seattle. (Photo by Alan Alabastro.)
Kevin Callan didn’t mince words when voicing his opinion about Washington House Bill 1015, a proposed measure that would allow residents to carry concealed pistols in some public venues.
“I think it’s a very bad idea,” said Callan, executive director of the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District. He added that the entity was created solely to build and own a baseball stadium for Washington residents. That stadium is now known as Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
“It’s a safe place to be,” Callan said of the Seattle venue. “It’s a very safe environment for families. You just don’t need to bring in a handgun, all rights aside.”
House Bill 1015 was pre-filed for introduction Dec. 5. If passed in the 2017 regular session, it would prevent certain venues from banning concealed pistols, provided the gun owner has a valid concealed pistol license. The law would apply to public stadium authorities, as well as public facilities districts and private entities that lease or rent facilities from them, according to the bill.
The measure would also prohibit local governments from enacting laws to ban concealed pistols from facilities they own, manage or lease to another entity. This measure would apply to government-owned stadiums, convention centers, arenas and similar venues, the bill reads.
A spokeswoman for the Seattle Mariners declined to comment on administrators’ views of the proposed law. “The only thing I’m able to say right now is we’ll be keeping an eye on it,” said Rebecca Hale, director of public information.
The bill’s potential impact on the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle isn’t yet clear. “The bill may or may not affect us very much,” President and CEO Jeff Blosser said.
The convention center takes a hands-off approach to addressing concealed weapons on the premises. Once a convention center space is licensed for an event, the facility considers that area a private space. The entity that leased the space can then decide whether concealed weapons are permitted at the event, Blosser said.
“This (proposed law) obviously would change that a little bit,” he said. “That’s kind of the concern that we would have.”
At the moment, officials with the Washington State Convention Center are simply looking at the bill and trying to gauge its likelihood of passage. The facility’s government affairs committee is scheduled to discuss the issue at a meeting next week, Blosser said.
“So, basically, what we’re doing now is our lobbyist is taking a look at [the bill] to see whether or not it has legs and whether it’s going to get passed,” he said. “Our attorney probably will also take a look at it to see what we would have to do if it does pass.”
If past performance is any indicator, the bill’s chances of passage could be slim. The issue has appeared in Washington State before, “and it never really seems to get any traction in the legislature,” Callan said. “We really wouldn’t expect it to again.”
Interviewed for this story: Kevin Callan, (206) 664-3079; Rebecca Hale, (206) 346-4001;
Jeff Blosser, (206) 694-5010