Senators discussed a bill Wednesday night that would restrict gun rights without a felony conviction for the first time in state history.
“We’re trying to defuse that really high stakes period before a conviction,” explained Rep. Roger Goodman. “What’s already a dangerous situation, explosive, becomes deadly when a firearms involved.”
The bill would require anyone named in a protective order, also deemed a “credible” threat of “bodily injury or death”, to surrender their firearms.
Goodman sponsored the bill last year which never made it to a vote. Concern from opponents focused on a detail Rep. Goodman tweaked this year.
Under the current guidelines of ESHB 1840, the victim would have to prove they’re likely to be harmed again. A judge would have to file a second ruling, separate from the protective order itself, deeming the person in question a credible threat.
Last year, the bill didn’t require a judge to make a separate finding.
“It’s not true that just by getting a restraining order you’re going to be able to suspend someone’s firearms rights,” Goodman said.
Once the order is lifted, the person will regain their rights.
In the audience at Wednesday night’s hearing was a woman who believes the bill will save lives, because it might have saved her from the most violent night of her life.
On January 21, 2012, Stephanie Holten’s ex-husband, Corey, waited outside her home with a semiautomatic gun.
When she returned from a date, he forced her inside and pointed the gun at her head in front of their two children.
It was just 10 hours after Corey was served with a protection order, and told to leave Stephanie alone.
“I was incredibly lucky,” she said.
Stephanie told her harrowing tale at the senate committee hearing Wednesday night, in hopes this year will be a success for the bill. She believes her story could have been avoided if Corey had been forced to surrender his guns.
“Because in my case, it could save my life. It could save your life,” she said.
The bill has already passed through the House unanimously. Senators will vote on it Thursday.