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Author Topic: Seattle Police Confiscate First Firearm Under New “Mental Health” Law  (Read 1145 times)

Offline KFhunter

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the red flag law has it's first test case

https://www.conservativeinstitute.org/gun-control/seattle-police-first-gun.htm

SEATTLE – The city’s police department became the first law enforcement agency in the state to force the surrender of a firearm under a new law known as an “extreme risk protection order.”

The incident involves a man who lives in Belltown, who neighbors said had been intimidating people for the past year - even staring-down customers through store-front windows with a gun holstered at his side.

Mental illness is suspected, but that new law allowed police to legally disarm him.

“He was roaming the hallways with a .25 caliber automatic,” said Tony Montana, who knows the man from his apartment complex. “And it created a lot of fear obviously because I didn't know if he was coming after me or gonna just start shooting the place up."

The man, who we are not naming, is also well known to the bars and restaurants below his unit along Second Ave. The volume of complaints convinced Seattle police to seek an extreme risk protection order - or “erpo” – which allows law enforcement to legally remove guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

In this case, the man refused to comply. Because of the new law, police were then able to return with a warrant and force the man to surrender the firearm.

“I’m very supportive of this law,” Montana said. “This is a perfect case in point where it's had some efficacy. It was an immediate crisis and law enforcement was able to remove his firearms, so it very well could have saved lives."

A few dozen erpos have been served and executed around the state, but Seattle police said they are the only agency so far to seize a gun because the owner refused to hand it over.

Law enforcement professionals said these specialized protection orders could be a common sense strategy to try and prevent mass shootings - such as what happened in Parkland, Florida.

“There's certainly a big concern of the connection between mental health and people exhibiting violent behavior and whether or not they should have access to firearms. The ‘erpos’ give us that tool now as an option,” said Sgt. Eric Pisconski, who leads the crisis response unit for the Seattle Police Department.

The confiscations only last a year, although they can be renewed.

Offline Stein

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So, complaints from neighbors equates to an extreme risk and mental illness suspicion.

If that’s the reasoning, I wouldn’t expect this to survive a challenge.

Who knows what the real story is, very poor reporting.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Welcome to precrime enforcement.

I 1491, brought to you nanny Bloomberg's Everytown, IIRC.

Know your rights, such as they are in WA.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=7.94&full=true
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:37:43 PM by Fl0und3rz »

Offline Knocker of rocks

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Who knows what the real story is, very poor reporting.


When I saw the name Tony Montana, I thought it was a hoax.  But it is legit

Offline optic2

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Welcome to precrime enforcement.

I 1491, brought to you nanny Bloomberg's Everytown, IIRC.

Know your rights, such as they are in WA.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=7.94&full=true

I mean if pre-crime enforcement is now OK then how about they round up all known gang members and drug dealers and throw them in jail.

Offline Curly

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So, complaints from neighbors equates to an extreme risk and mental illness suspicion.

If that’s the reasoning, I wouldn’t expect this to survive a challenge.

Who knows what the real story is, very poor reporting.
:yeah:

Terrible article. 

Could be a bunch of gun hating snowflakes are scared to see someone packing a gun. This law maybe is being abused here......actually I'd say, more likely than not the law is being abused.
May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

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Offline pianoman9701

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People in Seattle call conservatives mentally ill. Could a law this broad be used to strip people of their rights because of disagreeable speech? It's clear it could. I'm not saying this guy isn't wacko. I don't know if he is or not. And the Seattle PD doesn't know, either. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline Stein

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Maybe an FOI request to see if there was a Minority Report?

Offline magnanimous_j

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Should we be disarming crazy people or not? If so, what kind of procedure would you guys be ok with?

Offline Curly

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Should we be disarming crazy people or not? If so, what kind of procedure would you guys be ok with?

Yeah, crazy people should be disarmed.  But simply having a gun strapped on shouldn't necessarily mean the guy is nuts.  It is legal to open carry in this state.

The law obviously can and likely will be abused. 

Do we have to trust the people that reported the guy and trust the officers that confiscated?

I wonder what the procedure is now for the man to go about getting his firearms back?  Is he SOL now that they've been confiscated?  Does he have to spend a bunch of money on a shrink to write a report stating that he isn't a danger?  If the shrink does find him to be a danger to own firearms, then what about a vehicle?  Maybe the state should confiscate any vehicles he owns.......or knives?  :dunno:

It will be interesting to follow the case.

May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

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Offline magnanimous_j

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You can't deflect every gun control argument to mental health and then complain when they try to address crazy people with guns.

As for this guy, until I see something to the contrary, I'm going to assume he's legitimately nuts. People have called the cops dozens of times about him. If they didn't do anything, and he did hurt someone, you would blame the police for not doing anything. Open carry isn't super common around here, but people do it sometimes and no one freaks out.

Offline bigdave

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Just heard this from the police in our area recently "being creepy isn't a crime". Well, I guess being creepy with a gun strapped to you and they can wave your constitutional right of due process and steal personal property. This state is racing toward socialism so fast its tripping all over itself in the process. Anyone else looking at property in other states? :bash:

Offline Curly

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Open carry isn't super common around here, but people do it sometimes and no one freaks out.

I've witnessed people freaking out over normal people open carrying.


May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

><((((º>` ><((((º>. ><((((º>.¸><((((º>

Offline baker5150

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They spoke in depth about this case on the radio the other day.  Officers involved had a lot of experience with this person including reports of threats.  If I recall they also had to get a judge to sign off on this.   
Also, there is a time limit on the warrant, after that they have to return his guns or charge him with something. 
I know this is a very vague post, I havnet had a chance to dive into how this works yet.
I'm not seeing a big issue in this case, but I can see it being abused, and it will.

Offline baldopepper

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Seems like another damned if you do and damned if you don't for LE. No wonder law enforcement agencies are having trouble recruiting.  Hard to find the combination of soldier, psychiatrist, and priest the job now requires.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Should we be disarming crazy people or not? If so, what kind of procedure would you guys be ok with?

This allows a warrant for confiscation and seizure without proper due process, based on limited evidence, and it it provides shameless little penalty and liability for abuse of process, as well as no recompense (from a quick review) to an aggrieved and wrongly accused and disenfranchised individual. 

I am not OK with that.

We can do better, but there is no interest in doing so.

Offline pianoman9701

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Open carry isn't super common around here, but people do it sometimes and no one freaks out.

I've witnessed people freaking out over normal people open carrying.

I've had someone scream at me for open carry.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline Fl0und3rz

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I'm going to assume he's legitimately nuts.

Unfortunately, this state is dominated by people who think like this and will toss out innocent until proven guilty for a little security.

Offline WAcoyotehunter

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You can't deflect every gun control argument to mental health and then complain when they try to address crazy people with guns.

Right, every tine there's a big shooting everyone says it's not the guns its the crazy people.... Well, how do you keep guns from people that are a danger?

  I suppose you take them away when people demonstrate that they're crazy.

Offline magnanimous_j

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I'm not seeing a big issue in this case, but I can see it being abused, and it will.

I don't really see that as being a big threat, especially if as you say, a judge has to sign off on it and give the firearms back if no charges are filed.

Wa.gov estimates that 21% of Adults in King County are gun owners. So a really conservative estimate puts over 100,000 gun owners living in Seattle city limits. That's not counting the number of potentially armed people who commute in. It's unrealistic to think this law could be used to disarm any significant % of those citizens. It's even less realistic to think they could get away with it.

Offline Curly

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It does make me feel better that a judge has to be involved. I just pictured a phone call to the police and they run over there and take the guns.
May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

><((((º>` ><((((º>. ><((((º>.¸><((((º>

Offline Fl0und3rz

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It does make me feel better that a judge has to be involved. I just pictured a phone call to the police and they run over there and take the guns.

It shouldn't.  An elected judge, with the prospect of a "potentially dangerous individual" with out the benefit of contrary evidence, because due process was not observed, because the order can be granted without the accused having his/her say, has a disincentive to protect the accused individual's right's. 

Be known at election time as the judge who sided against an ERPO, or as one who has wrongly disenfranchised and economically damaged a law-abiding gun owner.

How do you think that turns out in King County?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 10:20:01 AM by Fl0und3rz »

Offline Stein

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It does make me feel better that a judge has to be involved. I just pictured a phone call to the police and they run over there and take the guns.

Keep in mind that the police petitioned the court and there is no requirement for a mental health professional to be involved, or for the subject of the order to be evaluated by anyone with any qualifications in the field of determining the mental health of an individual.  The police simply present why they think the individual may pose a danger to themselves or others.

Once granted, the order remains for one year and can be renewed indefinitely.  The subject of the order only has one opportunity to terminate the order in the first year and is responsible for proving to the court they are not mentally unfit and do not pose a risk to themselves or others.  He/she would be responsible for court costs, as well as any assessment and testimony from mental health professionals and attorney fees.

The petition can also be filed by any immediate family member including ex-spouses or the other parent of any kids, whether they were married or not.  The accused will be notified at least 5 days in advance, so they will have a mere 5 days to figure out what is going on, how to respond, find and pay for an attorney, get some type of testimony from a mental health professional, get the time off work, etc.

One fear is that a disgruntled family member or ex-spouse could simply file the petition which would result in confiscation of all firearms and prevent possession of any firearms for hunting, target shooting or anything for an indefinite period of time.  The burden of proof seems to be on the accused and it is unclear what would happen in a "he said, she said" argument that went to the court.  Once the order was put into place, the person who lost their rights would clearly have to prove that they did nothing wrong to reattain them.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Once the order was put into place, the person who lost their rights would clearly have to prove that they did nothing wrong to reattain them.

Also keep in mind that these types of proceeding are routinely abused in alleging DV in marital dissolution cases.  I would bet there are at least a few people here who can attest to that.

Offline X-Force

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You can't deflect every gun control argument to mental health and then complain when they try to address crazy people with guns.

Right, every tine there's a big shooting everyone says it's not the guns its the crazy people.... Well, how do you keep guns from people that are a danger?

  I suppose you take them away when people demonstrate that they're crazy.

 :yeah:
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Offline timberfaller

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Offline Stein

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Also keep in mind you don't have to be "crazy" or mentally unfit.  The order only requires that someone makes a claim that you pose a danger to yourself or someone else and the judge finds that claim reasonable.  It literally can be as simple as an ex-spouse or even roommate telling a judge that you made threats and they are in fear of being shot.  It would then be up to the accused to convince the judge that didn't happen.

On the other side of the argument, there are known problems with government agencies and professionals not submitting information to the NICS database and nothing is being done on that front.  I believe that is how the gun that was used in Marysville was purchased and there has been nothing done to prevent that from happening again.

Offline Humptulips

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In WA it appears you can be involuntarily committed for mental illness if you are a danger to others or yourself or even if you are a druggy or drunk. You have to be given a court hearing with representation though within 72 hours. Not so the case when your firearms are taken.
Does not it seem wrong that when your Constitutional rights are taken away even though possibly for good reason you are not given your day in court?
I would feel better about this if the guy got a hearing with representation within 72 hours.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline Stein

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He has the opportunity to attend the hearing and is notified at least five days in advance.  The challenge would be proving something didn't happen, i.e., I never said that or acted that way, as well as coming up with an effective defense in 5 days.

It's a tough problem, how to keep guns out of bad guys hands while following the constitution.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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He has the opportunity to attend the hearing and is notified at least five days in advance.  The challenge would be proving something didn't happen, i.e., I never said that or acted that way, as well as coming up with an effective defense in 5 days.

It's a tough problem, how to keep guns out of bad guys hands while following the constitution.

The notice and opportunity to be heard provisions in the law are woefully inadequate in comparison to the infringement and potential for abuse. 

These were intentionally lowered beyond what is acceptable in most other contexts for such infringements.  These can be improved.

There is no rational reason to think that if this person is an active danger to self or others that this potential infringement cannot be accompanied by actual notice (personal service of process) and actual opportunity to be heard, rather than service of process by mail or publication and ex parte hearings to grant the order to seize firearms.  None. 

In fact, the reasons to NOT require actual personal service (e.g., flight risk, concealment of firearms) presumes that the person who is an alleged danger not receive actual service of process by the inferior service by mail and publication allowances.  This nod to due process is a sham.

Offline Stein

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Agreed, but I do believe the notice has to be served by a LEO, at least according to this:

https://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/documents/XR_ERPO%20Brochure_2017.pdf

Offline Stein

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I just looked it up and the police are required to make two attempts at serving it and then are allowed to mail it or publicize it (in the paper?).  They will attempt to serve it to whatever address or location the petitioner lists on the paperwork.

If someone was real cranky, they would submit the petition while you were out of town for a couple of days.

Anyway, the courts will eventually get around to judging the constitutionality of this order, it is in place in several states.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Agreed.


Agreed, but I do believe the notice has to be served by a LEO, at least according to this:

https://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/documents/XR_ERPO%20Brochure_2017.pdf

Not so.  That is essentially a sales pitch that presents best case scenario for petitioners.

Read the actual RCW.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=7.94&full=true#7.94.060

Pay particular attention to RCW 7.94.070 Service by publication or mail and RCW 7.94.040 Hearings on petition—Grounds for order issuance, Section (1)(d), citing RCW 7.94.050 Ex parte orders.

The situation I described is accurate.  And the burden of proof is the lowest possible, a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt or even the intermediate standard of clear and convincing evidence.

This was all covered in the discussions of I-1491, which the media and left gladly obfuscated or mislead the public. 


If you were setting out to design a system ripe for abuse, you could not do a better job.   Don't take my word for it.  Review RCW 7.94.120 Penalties and RCW 7.94.140 Liability.


As I said, the nod to due process is a sham.

 

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