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Published on Friday, March 22, 2013

Gun legislation update

Throughout the session, the Legislature has seen bills that address guns, gun ownership, background checks, violence, and statewide registries. Many of those bills have died. Here is what is still alive in the process.

HB 1840, by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland): Prohibits possession of a firearm by a person who has a civil protection order against them that restricts them from contacting another person. Under current state law, a person may not possess a firearm if they have been convicted of a “serious offense”, which includes a number of violent crimes. On a federal level, a person cannot possess a firearm if they have been convicted of domestic violence or are subject to certain restraining orders. In other words, it’s not until there is a conviction, or unless the case involves a specific type of restraining order, that a person subject to a civil protection order would be prohibited from possessing a firearm. This bill seeks to extend the prohibition to begin as soon as a civil protection order is issued against the person.

This bill is a reflection of many cases nationwide in which women have become victims of serious and fatal gunshot wounds while under a protection order. This bill is scheduled for a hearing at 1:30pm on March 25 in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

HB 1612, by Rep. Mike Hope (R-Marysville): Requires the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to maintain a central registry of firearm offenders. WSP currently maintains such records for many criminal justice purposes, including the sex and kidnapping offender registries that have been in existence since 1990.

The firearm registry would include firearm offenders who have been convicted, or found not guilty by reason of insanity, of various felony firearm offenses. The registry is for law enforcement purposes only and would not be subject to public disclosure. The list would include name and aliases, address, identifying marks and physical description, details of the offense and where the person has registered firearms.

This bill is in the Senate but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

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