New Domestic Violence Gun Law Goes into Effect
On June 12, 2014, Washington enacted a new firearms restriction that was passed on March 28. Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1840 or The Domestic Violence Gun Law Bill, which allows a judge to require a person to surrender their firearms if that person has a history of domestic violence and they are under a no-contact order or restraining order.
The Bill does not require the judge to order the restriction, but allows the judge to order it and allows the opportunity for that person to have a hearing to contest the order. Versions of this bill have failed in the Washington legislature over the past decade. This one got approved largely because of the amendment that permits contested hearing.
The law was inspired in part by the case of Stephanie Holten, who was confronted at gunpoint by her ex-husband after a court issued a restraining order against him. She managed to survive the incident by secretly calling 911. Her situation is common in domestic violence relationships. This is not the first time that lawmakers have revoked gun rights for domestic violence perpetrators.
Washington law and federal law already revoke a person’s firearm rights after any felony conviction and misdemeanor convictions for some domestic violence charges including Assault 4 DV and Violation of a Domestic Violence No-Contact Order.