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Initiative 1491, court orders barring gun access

For the second time in three years, supporters of tougher gun laws are asking Washington voters to approve a law they couldn’t get through the Legislature.
Initiative 1491 would create a new type of court order in the state, allowing judges to require people who’ve been determined to be at “extreme risk” of danger to themselves or others to surrender any guns they have and bar them from buying more.
The protection orders are patterned after domestic violence protection orders, but instead of a spouse or partner, they would allow other family members or law enforcement to go to court. A temporary order of up to 14 days could be issued without the subject present if the court were to receive enough evidence of imminent danger, but the full one-year order would require a hearing where the subject is required to be present with legal counsel. A new round of hearings would be required to renew the order after the year is up.
Filing a false statement to obtain an extreme-risk protection order would be a gross misdemeanor. Violating an order would be a gross misdemeanor the first two times but a felony the third time.

Election results

154
Option Votes Pct
Yes 1,995,350 69.72%
No 866,657 30.28%

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Our advice: Yes on I-1491; no on I-1501

Initiative 1491. This measure would give loved ones and law enforcement a speedy way to petition a court to have a gun removed from someone who poses harm to themselves and others. Advocates tried to get the Legislature to adopt “extreme risk protection orders,” but like most gun issues, lawmakers would rather bury them than take a vote. I-594, the background check measure, was easily passed by voters after legislators failed to act.


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I know firsthand how devastating it is when someone you know is dangerous, someone close to you has easy access to a gun. That’s why I urge you to support Initiative 1491. Four years ago, I was on my knees in my own living room. My ex-husband had a gun pointed at my head. He’d threatened me before, and, I thought, “Today he’s going to kill me.”


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Initiative 1491, which would allow police and family members to request a judge to issue protective orders to keep dangerous people from having or buying firearms, will be on the November ballot.


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