Washington state is a fairly odd place. While they’re still a “shall issue” state for concealed carry permits, they’ve otherwise gone full-on gun grabber. I-1639 was a particularly egregious example of why direct democracy can produce absolutely awful results, but it’s far from the whole story. The truth is, the state doesn’t like guns anymore and now they’re working to make life difficult for those who disagree.
One such example out there right now is a bill that just made it through the state House.
Courts could be one step closer to ordering people subject to vulnerable adult protection orders to surrender their firearms after the House voted 55 to 42 on Friday, Feb. 14 in favor of a bill that expands authority to do so.
House Bill 2305 would allow courts issuing a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order to consider whether a person named as an abuser should surrender their firearms, or concealed carry licence.
“This bill gives judges the same tools they have for other protection orders to order the surrender of firearms if there is evidence that the subject of the order has used or threatened to use a firearm,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Beth Doglio, D-Olympia.
Currently, the court can order the surrender of firearms from people subject to other kinds of protection and restraining orders, including domestic violence and stalking, but not for those issued to protect vulnerable adults.
In a House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill, Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, asked if the bill brought forth any pre-emptive protections that did not already exist. Irwin raised the point that firearm surrender orders require previous evidence of threat and that this policy change would not provide legal protections additional to the court protection orders that already exist.
The problem is, if someone is an abuser, they should be arrested and tried in accordance with the law. I don’t think anyone would actually oppose that. Not in the least.
Instead, though, is we see an effort to strip guns from people who have been convicted of no crime. Of course, Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders aren’t for that. They’re for something else.
Vulnerable adult protection orders are typically issued for individuals over 60 years of age who are deemed by the court to be unfit to take care of themselves, are legally incompacitated, or have developmental disabilities.
Of course, it should also be noted that all of that should fall under the archaic term “mentally defective.” If someone is that unfit, so unfit that they should be denied basic constitutional rights, then the question should be referred to the courts for them to be “adjudicated as mentally defective.” The law already holds such persons cannot own firearms.
What Washington state is trying to do is work around the existing law, creating more and more ways individuals can be stripped of their firearms without proper due process of law.
Make no mistake, though. It won’t end here. If this passes, they’ll try and create more and more ways people can be stripped of their guns. They’ll use this and previous laws to justify those measures, too.
The thing is, such a law isn’t needed. They just want it not because it’s required, but because it makes their life easier while making it just a bit harder to be a gun owner in the state.