Selected State Statutes: Washington

Statutes: Washington

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7.94.010. Purpose - Intent

(1) Chapter 3, Laws of 2017 is designed to temporarily prevent individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms by allowing family, household members, and police to obtain a court order when there is demonstrated evidence that the person poses a significant danger, including danger as a result of a dangerous mental health crisis or violent behavior.

(2) Every year, over one hundred thousand people are victims of gunshot wounds and more than thirty thousand of those victims lose their lives. Over the last five years for which data is available, one hundred sixty-four thousand eight hundred twenty-one people in America were killed with firearms--an average of ninety-one deaths each day.

(3) Studies show that individuals who engage in certain dangerous behaviors are significantly more likely to commit violence toward themselves or others in the near future. These behaviors, which can include other acts or threats of violence, self-harm, or the abuse of drugs or alcohol, are warning signs that the person may soon commit an act of violence.

(4) Individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others often exhibit signs that alert family, household members, or law enforcement to the threat. Many mass shooters displayed warning signs prior to their killings, but federal and state laws provided no clear legal process to suspend the shooters' access to guns, even temporarily.

(5) In enacting this initiative [chapter 3, Laws of 2017], it is the purpose and intent of the people to reduce gun deaths and injuries, while respecting constitutional rights, by providing a court procedure for family, household members, and law enforcement to obtain an order temporarily restricting a person's access to firearms. Court orders are intended to be limited to situations in which the person poses a significant danger of harming themselves or others by possessing a firearm and include standards and safeguards to protect the rights of respondents and due process of law.