Voluntary waiver of firearm rights is close to becoming law

The bill would allow those who feel they are at risk of suicide to add their name to a do-not-sell list.

A bill that would allow people at risk of suicide to voluntarily give up their gun rights passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 77-20 on Friday, Feb. 23. The bill had already passed the Senate unanimously on Jan. 24.

SB 5553 allows a person to waive their rights to a firearm for at least seven days if they believe they are prone to moments of suicidal thoughts. The bill as it passed the House was amended to add protections for an applicant’s identity, which must be verified through a county clerk. The amendment would require the waiver to be entered into the national instant criminal background check system to identify prohibited purchasers. Waivers would be exempt from the Public Records Act and would only be disclosed to law enforcement.

“We are trying to take all the steps we can to move forward,” Representative Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, said during floor debate in the House of Representatives.

The language of the bill is problematic, Representative Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver said. She voiced concerns that people might interpret the bill as a waiver of Second Amendment rights and suggested that it could be termed more akin to a “do not sell” list.

“It allows you, in a moment of lucidity, to say when I get into those moments, please don’t sell me a gun,” Representative Paul Graves, R-Fall City, said during floor debate.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Washington state according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the state’s annual rate is higher than the national rate.

A chart from nonprofit suicide prevention and education organization Forefront shows that 47 percent of the 1,129 suicides in Washington State in 2015 involved a firearm.

The bill will go back to the Senate, where it will be reconsidered with the amendment.

Suicide is a public health issue. If you need help, please call the suicide lifeline at 800-273-8255, the teen lifeline at 866-833-6546 or text 741741 for the crisis text line. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This report was produced by the Olympia bureau of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

More in Northwest

Father and daughter to graduate from Olympic College together, on Father’s Day

“I was just going to get my degree and walk away and she said, ‘No way!’”

Amelia Allen (left) looks down at the track as she races another driver in unweighted practice soap box derby cars June 7 on Camano Island. The 11th Stanwood-Camano Soap Box Derby takes place Saturday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Brand-new track, permanent Camano home for Soap Box Derby

Races involving 73 cars are on Saturday at a converted ranch where striped pavement belongs to kids.

Music on the Strait festival to debut this summer in Port Angeles

The even is intended to host great live music on Labor Day weekend and give Port Angeles yet another economic draw.

Runner-up in statewide pageant takes on sexual assault

Chloe Furnstahl will be partnering with the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center to continue talking about her platform.

Mourners plan vigils for family members killed in Brinnon fire

The cause of the explosion and fire has not yet been determined.

Neo-Nazis distribute fliers throughout Bellevue

The fliers were found in neighborhoods near Clyde Hill Elementary School and Chinook Middle School with candy seemingly designed to attract children.

Competitors gear up for Race to Alaska

The race, now in its fourth year, features competitors from the U.S., Australia, British Columbia, and France.

Charles Pillon sits inside one of the several buses on Iron Mountain. Photo by Caean Couto
The likely last days of Iron Mountain

After battling King County government for decades, Charles Pillon may have finally lost the fight over his illegal 10-acre junkyard.

Neah Bay seeing rise in green crab catches

Neah Bay European green crab total nearly 10 times more than Dungeness

Most Read