In Washington, a recent bill saw the removal of firearms in domestic violence calls if the police officer has probable cause to believe that there was a crime. This is legislation designed to protect partners from gun violence. The New York Times reports that gun ownership may tie to a higher rate of domestic violence homicides. Domestic violence homicide risks raise by 500 percent when there is a firearm in the household.
The bill, House Bill 1225, as cited by Crosscut, and the House Bill 1786 are legal measures to decrease gun violence in domestic abuse situations. House Bill 1225 provides police with permission and the obligation to seize any guns and ammunition. If one partner threatens the other with the gun or if the firearms are in plain sight or otherwise discovered during a search, he or she has to seize the weapons.
Police must also ask the victim if there are guns in the homes or if the suspect has access to guns. In Washington, firearms were present in 56% of domestic violence homicides. House Bill 1786 provides judges with the ability to order the surrender of firearms and then to issue protection orders.
If a person keeps his or her firearms rather than surrendering them, then the prosecutor can charge the suspect with felony unlawful possession. The point of these new laws is to protect victims of domestic abuse from domestic gun violence. If a police officer cannot confirm that the guns surrender then the courts have to check back in with the suspect and hold a review hearing.