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New law restricts firearms for people served with domestic violence protection orders

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1840, which prevents those who have been served a domestic violence (DV) protection order from possessing or purchasing a firearm.

The bill also creates criminal penalties, requires certification that firearms have been surrendered, and directs police to establish processes for receiving, storing and returning firearms, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Inslee signed the bill March 28 after the Legislature unanimously passed it.

Washington domestic violence survivors and advocates led by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Legal Voice have worked for over a decade to build support for the bill as an important safety measure. The King County Prosecutor’s Office has long supported their efforts, and recognizes the critical importance of this bill.

The statistics are compelling:

• Women are six times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by a stranger

• Two out of three domestic violence murders are committed with a firearm

• Nearly 90 percent of murder-suicides are perpetrated by an abuser with a firearm

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said the new law will help keep domestic violence victims safe.

“We know too much to ignore the increased lethality factor that easy access to firearms presents in a domestic violence situation,” Satterberg said. “They are by far the number one weapon in domestic violence homicides and in murder-suicides, and anything we can do to remove them from the equation during the heightened tension surrounding the issuance of a protection order will make everybody safer.”

 

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