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April 30, 2015

“OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a law to allow family members to request notification from police when confiscated guns are returned.

Inslee signed the ‘Sheena Henderson Act’ into law Tuesday afternoon with her family members looking on. The bill is named for a Spokane woman killed by her husband in a 2014 murder-suicide in which he used a weapon police had returned to him without her knowledge.”

Read more here from The Columbian.


April 17, 2015

Last night, the Washington State Senate once again unanimously passed the Sheena Henderson Act, sending the bill on to Governor Jay Inslee for signature. KXLY reports:

Henderson’s family said they had no idea Christopher was given his guns back. The Sheena Henderson’s Act aims to give families that knowledge.

‘It’s a tool for us to be able to try and protect our loved ones,” said Gary Kennison, Sheena’s father.

He says if they’d known Christopher had gotten his guns back, they could taken measures to protect Sheena, and get him the help he needed.

“What this bill does, it is gives family members that find themselves in situations such as ours, or domestic violence, the ability to request that notification be sent to you prior to the release of a firearm to a potentially dangerous or mentally ill person,” said Kennison.

If that notification is requested, a gun couldn’t be released for 72 hours.

“Which could potentially be a cooling off period, or you know, a way to prevent additional tragedies,” said Sheena’s friend Kristen Otoupalik.

Kennison said Governor Jay Inslee personally assured him he will sign the bill as soon as it comes across his desk.


March 28, 2015

Q13Fox takes a look at the progress of the Sheena Henderson Act in Olympia:

A push to help prevent gun violence in Washington moved a step forward in the Legislature Thursday.

The “Sheena Henderson Act” cleared a key state House of Representatives committee that will notify family members when police return a gun to a person from whom it was previously confiscated.

“This is an issue of community safety and peace of mind,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, sponsor of the measure.

Each year there are many cases where police temporarily seize firearms because of mental health or domestic violence problems. But right now there is no plan to alert families when those firearms get returned, possibly putting lives in jeopardy.

“The Sheena Henderson Act will save lives,” said Billig. “If somebody knows that their loved one, who’s maybe in a really tough spot, has their firearm, or doesn’t have their firearm, it gives them all the information they need to be able to make safety decisions for themselves.”


March 18, 2015

Shawn Vestal of the Spokane Spokesman-Review writes on the gun lobby’s opposition to Extreme Risk Protection Orders:

“The gun lobby has again helped undermine a piece of common-sense public safety legislation. The proposal, Washington House Bill 1857, would have allowed judges to issue temporary “extreme risk” protective orders against people deemed dangerous to themselves and others, including requiring them to temporarily surrender their guns.

The legislation was an attempt to put a tool in place for families and police when someone is exhibiting a variety of warning signs: worsening mental health, a pattern of threats of violence or suicide, drug or alcohol abuse, a domestic violence conviction and other factors. In case after case of high-profile shooters, there is a preceding pattern of problems known to family, friends and law enforcement – but short of a criminal conviction or an involuntary mental health commitment, their gun access is protected.

The bill died, with too little support to make it out of committee for a full vote. Guess how the National Rifle Association’s Brian Judy – and several other gun rights organizations – mounted their case against it? By raising the fears that the gun grabbers are coming to get your guns.

Armed, mentally ill people will be relieved to know that the gun lobby has protected them. Everyone else’s safety is not the NRA’s concern.”

Read the full story here.


February 27, 2015

OLYMPIA — Family members could be warned before police return guns to a person who had them seized by law enforcement, under a bill approved unanimously this morning by the Senate.

Known as the Sheena Henderson Act for a woman fatally shot by her husband at Deaconess Hospital last summer, the bill is designed to let family members request to be notified before a person with a history of mental health or domestic violence gets guns back that were seized by police.

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said Henderson’s family told legislators in hearings over the bill that if she had known her husband Chris had retrieved his gun from police, she would have taken extra precautions and could be alive today. A few weeks before the shooting, Chris Henderson had his guns seized when police intervened in a suicide attempt. But after being referred to law enforcement for another possible suicide attempt and later released, he went to the Spokane police station and retrieved the gun.

The next day he went to he floor at Deaconess where Sheena Henderson worked, killed her and then himself.

“This is a notification bill. It is not what anybody could call a gun control bill,” Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said.

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Top five contributors: Nicolas Hanauer, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Connie Ballmer, William Gates III, Melinda Gates