New laws in Washington have pushed prosecutors into pursuing charges for people who buy, or who even attempt to buy, prohibited firearms. As a result, people who have been accused or convicted for domestic violence are likely to be singled out.
New Law Pushes Prosecutors to File Charges for Prohibited Gun Purchases
The law, House Bill 1501, was passed in 2017 and altered several provisions in existing statutes in Washington. The effect of these changes was to task the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) to receive and review reports of attempted gun purchases that failed because they triggered background check violations. The WASPC was then supposed to refer targeted cases to law enforcement for prosecutors to press charges.
Report Identifies Over 3,000 Denied Gun Purchases in One Year
Back in November 2018, the WASPC issued its first annual report. The report claimed that the agency had received word of 3,248 denied applications for a gun purchase. Of these, 669 were referred to local law enforcement for potential prosecution because they either
- involved one person being denied a gun purchase multiple times,
- were applied for by someone with a felony conviction,
- were applied for by someone subject to a protective order, or
- involved a gun being sold and transferred to the purchaser, only to have the delayed application get denied, and the gun has not been returned.
In many of these cases, merely applying for a gun is a crime in Washington, including for those who have had a prior felony conviction, those who have been convicted for domestic violence, those who have protective orders currently outstanding against them, and those who have been involuntarily committed due to their mental illness.
It is unclear how many criminal charges have stemmed from the WASPC's referrals. While the WASPC claims that their information spawned 104 police investigations and 12 criminal charges, the true number is much higher because the WASPC only tracked the progress of the 123 referrals that were issued grant funding to pursue.
Your Second Amendment Rights After a Domestic Violence Conviction
These new efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of someone with a domestic violence conviction or anyone who is currently the subject of a protective order is just another example of the importance of defending against abuse allegations from the start. Your Second Amendment rights to own a firearm are on the line with every allegation of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Steve Karimi
Steve Karimi is a domestic violence defense lawyer who serves and represents those who have been accused of a domestic violence offense in or near the city of Seattle. While Washington's new laws can keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people who may use them to hurt others, a line does need to be drawn that protects everyone's Second Amendment rights.
Call Steve Karimi at his Seattle law office at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online for a strong defense if you have been accused of domestic violence in the area.