January 28, 2015
Today, legislators was introduced that will create Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Washington State. Extreme Risk Protection Orders will allow family members and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily suspend someone’s access to firearms based on documented, sworn evidence that they pose a threat to themselves or others. Petitions would be reviewed by a judge, and individuals who knowingly file false petitions can be charged with a crime.
In May 2014, Elliot Rodger used firearms as part of a mass killing near the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. Family members were well aware that Rodger possessed firearms, displayed signs of extreme distress, and presented a danger of acting on his threats against others. But California law did not allow for his access to firearms to be suspended. In response, California passed its version of these orders into law in October 2014. The legislation, along with a pending House companion bill, represents a key component of the gun responsibility agenda for 2015.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility released the following statement from Jane Weiss, whose niece Veronika was killed in the UC Santa Barbara shooting:
“My niece Veronika Weiss was murdered last May by an extremely disturbed individual with access to firearms who committed a senseless act of violence near the UC Santa Barbara campus. This devastating tragedy occurred, in part, because neither the family of the perpetrator nor law enforcement had the tools to temporarily remove his access to firearms.
Washington State has taken an important step today in preventing tragedies like the one that claimed Veronika and so many others with the introduction of Extreme Risk Protection Orders. This legislation will give our families and law enforcement the opportunity to present documented evidence to a court so that firearms can be temporarily removed from a volatile situation and ensure that people in distress get the help that they need. Extreme Risk Protection Orders will help families respond to signs that a family member is in distress, rather than leaving them powerless.
These measures will save lives while protecting Second Amendment rights, and I urge the Legislature to swiftly take action to pass it into law.”
November 19, 2014
Shawn Vestal of The Spokesman-Review writes:
How many uncles will have to hand guns to their nephews without being prosecuted for it, how many patriotic neighbors, sharing guns and apple pie over the back fence, will go completely unarrested, before it’s clear that the opponents of background checks were, once again, as always, crying wolf?
. . .
No one is – or ever was – going to arrest anyone for handing someone else a gun. No one is – or ever was – going to arrest anyone for loaning a friend a gun. No one is – or ever was – going to arrest family members for sharing guns while hunting, or gun-safety instructors for passing a gun to a student.
That was never, ever the case, and the people who suggested it was were either lying or woefully misinformed by people who were lying or so devoted to crying wolf that they simply did not care whether there really was one.
Read the full column here.
November 13, 2014
Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review reports:
Gun rights activists plan to bring their firearms to the Capitol next month in an effort engage in civil disobedience by violating the new background check law that they despise.
But there may be a flaw in the plan. What they say they’re going to do – “openly exchange guns” by handing them to someone else – isn’t against Initiative 594, according to Bob Calkins of the Washington State Patrol, which provides law enforcement on the Capitol grounds.
. . .
No one will be arrested for exchanging guns, Calkins, the patrol spokesman, said.
“We don’t see handing a weapon to someone else as a violation of the law,” Calkins said. “We don’t see that as a transfer.”
Read the full story here.
November 7, 2014
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility issued the following statement regarding the implementation of Initiative 594, which voters approved by a 20-point margin in the November 4, 2014 election:
“Initiative 594, which closes the background check loophole by applying the existing system of background checks to all gun sales, will take effect on December 4, 2014. As the initiative text states, the measure becomes law 30 days after its passage by voters.
When Initiative 594 takes effect, Washington State gun owners and purchasers will use the exact same background check system that they encounter today when purchasing a gun at a licensed dealer.”
November 5, 2014
The Seattle Times reports:
A measure seeking to prevent Washington state from expanding gun-sale background checks beyond federal law has been rejected by voters.
Votes counted Wednesday for Initiative 591 increased the No campaign’s lead by about 18,000. For the Yes side to catch up, it would need about 56 percent of the 1 million estimated votes remaining.
Read the full report here.