Two bills that would provide more protection and support to victims of domestic violence, have passed in the state Senate with bipartisan support. SB5231 and SB5006 will now be considered in the state House.
Seven Republican and 29 Democratic senators voted for passage of SB5231 sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline).
According to a press release from Washington Senate Democrats SB5231 would add clarity and accountability to the legal process at a critical moment – when the court is making decisions about someone charged or arrested for domestic violence.
“As a public defender, I saw how it is possible for a defendant in a domestic violence case, when ordered by a court to surrender guns, to lie and say they don’t own any,” said Salomon.
Although courts are required to order the surrender of firearms and dangerous weapons when entering protection orders at arraignment hearings for crimes of domestic violence, this often comes too late in the process to ensure accountability and true safety for the victims according to today’s press release.
“Although we’ve made important progress in recent years by enacting laws and policies that attempt to keep guns out of the hands of abusive partners,” said Casey Morris of the WA Coalition against Domestic Violence. “We have learned that focus on implementation and enforcement is critical.”
According to today’s press release the Washington state Senate has also passed SB5006 to strengthen a state law that provides people at risk of a psychological crisis or suicide the option to voluntarily give up their right to keep a firearm.
“This bill will make improvements to an important suicide prevention tool so people in crisis can take proactive steps and hopefully prevent a tragedy,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), the bill’s sponsor.