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Washington State Gun Violence Survivors, Mental Health Experts, Moms Testify in Support of HB 1857, Extreme Risk Protective Orders Legislation

Extreme Risk Protective Orders Bill—Which Would Allow Families, Law Enforcement to Ask a Judge to Temporarily Remove Guns from Those Proven to Pose Danger to Themselves and Others—is Key Component of Moms Demand Action’s 2015 Gun Safety Agenda

Yesterday during Moms Demand Action’s Advocacy Day at the Washington State Capitol, over 80 Volunteers Delivered More Than 10,850 Petitions to Legislators in Support of HB 1857

OLYMPIA – Today Washington State gun violence gun violence survivors, mental health experts and moms testified in support of HB 1857, Extreme Risk Protective Orders legislation, which would allow family members and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if they have evidence the person poses a serious threat to themselves or others. Yesterday, over 80 volunteers delivered more than 10,850 petitions to state legislators in support of Extreme Risk Protective Orders, demanding that lawmakers do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

“As a board certified licensed mental health counselor, I have worked with families whose mentally ill family members have displayed dangerous behavior—causing them to live in fear for the safety of themselves and loved ones when the individual in crisis is in possession of a gun,” said Leanne Kennedy, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in Washington and licensed mental health counselor. “Extreme Risk Protective Orders legislation would ensure that those family members have a place to turn when they see red flags—allowing them to act on their concerns and, with documented evidence, petition a judge to temporarily restrict their loved one’s access to firearms.”

“Extreme Risk ProtectiveOrders give family members and law enforcement—those of us who are in the best position to notice warning signs of a dangerous mental health crisis—a way to take action when someone poses a serious threat to themselves or others, and potentially prevent a tragedy,” said Zoe Ann Moore, whose daughter Dana Harvey committed suicide in 2010. “If this measure had been in place when Dana was suffering so badly, it might have empowered our family to prevent the tragedy of losing her. I urge our lawmakers to pass HB 1857—for the safety of our kids and families.”

“I am here today because legislation like Extreme Risk Protective Orders, which would give family members and law enforcement the ability to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses a severe risk to themselves or others, could have saved my cousin Veronika’s life,” said Sarah Whitford, whose 19 year-old cousin Veronika Weiss was shot and killed by a mentally ill young man in the rampage in Isla Vista, California. “After the Isla Vista tragedy, California passed a similar law. I am here today to speak to the importance of common-sense laws that can help prevent the tragedy and heartache my family has felt as a result of Veronika’s death at the hands of a mentally ill young man.”

Many individuals who hurt themselves or someone else with a gun have demonstrated extremely risky behavior in the past, but current Washington law often leaves family members and law enforcement with no option to intervene in these cases.

Many individuals who hurt themselves or someone else with a gun have demonstrated extremely risky behavior in the past, but current Washington law often leaves family members and law enforcement with no option to intervene in these cases.