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Published On: Thu, Sep 29th, 2016

Washington State goes ‘Minority Report’ with pre-crime bill to stop those ‘significantly more likely to commit violence’ in the future

Washington State voters will be considering a new ballot measure, Initiative Measure 1491, which would allow authorities to seize guns from people considered “significantly more likely to commit violence toward themselves or others in the near future.”

The legislation would allow authorities with a court order to seize an individual’s guns for a period of up to 1 year.  Under the measure, gun owners would have the right to appeal a court order to have their guns returned but would have no ability to block the upfront confiscation.

“This act is designed to temporarily prevent individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms by allowing family, household members, and police to obtain a court order when there is demonstrated evidence that the person poses a significant danger, including danger as a result of a dangerous mental health crisis or violent behavior,” the measure states.

“Studies show that individuals who engage in certain dangerous behaviors are significantly more likely to commit violence toward themselves or others in the near future. These behaviors, which can include other acts or threats of violence, self-harm, or the abuse of drugs or alcohol, are warning signs that the person may soon commit an act of violence.”

“Individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others often exhibit signs that alert family, household members, or law enforcement to the threat. Many mass shooters displayed warning signs prior to their killings, but federal and state laws provided no clear legal process to suspend the shooters’ access to guns, even temporarily.”

Minority Report Tom Cruise photo

While critics point to Minority Report and fascist leaders in World History, definitions and words matter…so:

Per the measure’s definition of “Family or Household Member”, any disgruntled former “dating partner” could allege mental instability and have someone’s personal property confiscated as a form of retribution.

Family or household member” means, with respect to a respondent, any: (a) Person related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the respondent; (b) Dating partners of the respondent; (c) Person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether such person has been married to the respondent or has lived together with the respondent at any time; (d) Person who resides or has resided with the respondent within the past year; (e) Domestic partner of the respondent; (f) Person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren; and (g) Person who is acting or has acted as the respondent’s legal guardian.
Susan Hutchison, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, said most voters aren’t familiar with all the details of the initiative at this point. But she said she could understand why some might be in favor of what she termed a “human-being control” measure rather than a “gun-control” measure.
“We’re all looking for answers where law-abiding people can have their constitutional rights to bear arms,” Hutchison said. “The concern is some of the news stories we’ve seen as of late where irresponsible people get hold of a gun and use it to maim and kill—I think everyone is looking for a solution.”

“That’s something that sounds very good on the surface,” said Joe Waldron, legislative chairman for the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association. “It’s just an excuse to go after guns.”

Waldron said he is concerned that the measure would deprive gun owners of their constitutional rights, including due process and protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Stephanie Ervin, campaign manager for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Washington, said protections for gun owners were written into the measure, including making it a crime for people to make false petitions.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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