New laws kick in to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders in Washington

A domestic violence case is five times more likely to be deadly if guns are involved and as of this summer, new laws are in place to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders in Washington.

Thousands of domestic violence cases are reported annually in Spokane County but this year, only 22 people complied with court-ordered gun surrenders.

There are federal laws to keep firearms away from abusers but many challenges arise when enforcing them on the local level.

House Bill 1225 and House Bill 1786 are among several new gun laws which started July 1, 2019 in Washington.

H.R. 1225 affects law enforcement entering domestic violence scenes. Police will have to take guns they see or are believed to have been used and also question victims for the whereabouts of other guns the suspect has access to.

H.R. 1786 impacts the timeline of gun surrenders in domestic violence cases. Guns will have to be given up immediately upon officers notifying offenders of orders. Courts will have to check in and hold review hearings to make sure orders are followed and if suspects refuse, prosecutors have more power to charge them with a felony.

Gun rights can be restored but that will be up to a judge.

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