In one city, 27 guns from 16 individuals have been seized since last summer by police, using a new “extreme risk” gun law meant to take guns away from those with mental issues or who may cause violence.
The guns were all seized in the city of Seattle. Last summer, the state of Washington passed the Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, which allows the confiscation of arms by police from individuals they deem as a possible threat to themselves and others.
President Donald Trump and a number of Republicans favor laws that allow authorities to take guns from the mentally ill. However, some wonder if the Washington law may not allow for full due process. The law does allow for individuals to go to court to challenge the seizure of their guns. However, the process of initial seizure is under criticism.
Fox News reports on the law. It points out that the subject of the story willingly allowed his guns to be taken, but details were not given on individuals who refuse to give their guns up.
Alexander Mckenzie, a 31-year-old Army veteran who, according to court documents, is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, recently had his gun confiscated by the Seattle Police Department even though he had committed no crime.
It’s one of 27 guns seized legally by the Seattle Police Department from 16 individuals since last July under Washington State’s new Extreme Risk Protection Order law.
McKenzie had been acting strange, glaring at customers of a pizza restaurant while carrying his handgun. He now agrees with the firearm seizure.
“I’m grateful that the police got the gun away from me,” McKenzie told Fox News.
Washington is one of six states with high risk or red flag laws. But in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, the Brady Campaign says at least 30 states are considering them.
“I think we’re seeing a building consensus in blue states and red states that this is a good way to balance public safety against people’s Second Amendment rights,” said Jaron Lindbaum of Washington Ceasefire.
Fox News describes the seizure process.
Guns are removed for one year, but there is due process. Only family, roommates and police can petition the court for the civil order. The burden of proof is on the petitioner. A judge determines if the person is a danger to himself or others. If the order is issued, the guns can be seized immediately, but the gun owner gets to make his or her case in court within two weeks.
Even gun rights advocates, who are afraid of government abuse, say it appears to be working.
“We’ve seen the downside of people who are distraught or crazy taking out their problems on the general public,” said Dave Workman of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation. “We don’t want that to happen here.”
One petition to seize guns was turned down by a King County, Wash., judge. All others have been granted, including the taking of an AR-15 rifle. According to the pastors of the Cross and Crown Church in Seattle, a former member threatened to kill them and wished the recent church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas had happened there.