Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility

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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.


February 23, 2015

Cheryl Stumbo, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility & Everytown for Gun Safety for I-594 Join Attorney General in Defending Will of People of Washington

Initiative 594 Passed with Nearly 60% of the Vote in November 2014

(Seattle, Wash.) – Today, the coalition that helped pass Initiative 594 filed a Motion to Intervene as Defendants in a lawsuit challenging the Initiative, Northwest School of Safety v. Ferguson, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The Motion asks the court to allow Initiative 594’s citizen-sponsor, Cheryl Stumbo; theWashington Alliance for Gun Responsibility; and Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594 to intervene and defend the Initiative, given their role as leaders of the ballot campaign to pass Initiative 594. In addition, the parties filed an Answer to the Complaint filed by Alan Gottlieb and his fellow plaintiffs, who led the losing campaign to pass competing Initiative 591 and weaken Washington’s gun laws in 2014.

The filing comes in response to a federal lawsuit that has been described as an “uphill battle” by legal experts and has been condemned for weakening laws that keep guns out of dangerous hands. The court proceedings also come amid clear evidence that Initiative 594 is working well for both law enforcement and responsible gun owners. Initiative 594′s background check requirements have already helped keep guns out of dangerous hands, and the checks are being integrated seamlessly at gun shows,online, and at other vendors. And as even Initiative 594’s challengers acknowledged in their legal complaint, there is no evidence of responsible gun owners experiencing legal jeopardy in the months since Initiative 594 was passed.

Cheryl Stumbo, a gun violence survivor who was shot in the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle shooting, was the citizen-sponsor of Initiative 594. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is a coalition of Washington citizens and entities working together to find solutions to reduce gun violence, and the driving force behind Initiative 594. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594 is a registered Washington State ballot committee formed to support passage of Initiative 594 in order to provide over 45,000 grassroots members and 27 mayors an avenue to help pass the Initiative. The three joined together to help close Washington State’s background check loophole by passing Initiative 594. Washington State became the 17th state to require background checks on all gun sales when it passed with 59% of the vote on November 4th, 2014.

“The people of Washington spoke very clearly when they overwhelmingly passed Initiative 594, and we are proud to defend their will against this frivolous gun lobby lawsuit to gut Washington State’s gun laws,” said Cheryl Stumbo. “The same individuals who failed to weaken our state’s gun laws in last year’s election are now using the court system to do exactly that. We will not allow them to roll back our progress by making it easier for criminals to obtain guns, and we look forward to working side-by-side with the Office of the Attorney General and the vast majority of Washingtonians who voted to close the background check loophole, prevent gun violence and save lives.”

The case is Northwest School of Safety et. al. v. Bob Ferguson, No. CV-06026-BHS in the federal District Court for the Western District of Washington.

About The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations working together to forge commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence. We support the Second Amendment right of citizens to own guns. We also believe with that right comes basic responsibilities. As a society we are responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and promoting solutions that reduce gun violence. Learn more atwww.wagunresponsibility.org and follow us at @YesOn594.

About Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594.

Everytown for I-594 is a registered Washington State ballot committee formed to support passage of I-594. Everytown for I-594 was established in July, 2014 by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, which fights for public safety measures that both respect the Second Amendment and improve public safety. Everytown for I-594 was formed in order to provide over 45,000 grassroots supporters and 27 mayors in Washington State an avenue to help pass I-594 and save lives by closing the background check loophole. Learn more atwww.everytown.org and follow us @Everytown.



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.”

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Paid for by Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility PO Box 21712 Seattle, WA 98111.
Top five contributors: Nicolas Hanauer, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Connie Ballmer, William Gates III, Melinda Gates