Editorial: Extreme Risk Protection Orders make absolute sense

It’s impossible to prove a negative.

In 2016, voters passed Initiative 1490, which created the Extreme Risk Protection Order. It’s civil process under which an adult can be temporarily prohibited from owning or possessing firearms if a court deems them a high risk for hurting themselves or others.

The state Senate recently passed a bill that would extend the Extreme Risk Protection Orders to minors, requiring parents to be notified and to safely store firearms.

It was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Hopefully it will pass the House with similar across-the-aisle cooperation.

Under the current law, either police or family members can petition the court for an order to be served on a troubled person.

The process is not used extensively. During the first year in which it was enacted intolaw, for example, Seattle police seized 43 guns from people who were considered a high risk.

It’s been used at least twice in Island County, by the Washington State Patrol and Oak Harbor Police.

What nobody knows is how effective the law has been since the goal is to prevent something from happening. But it gives police and families a tool when someone in a mental health crisis makes threats or acts in a threatening manner.

The NRA sent mixed messages about its stance on the so-called red flag laws.

A top lobbyist said last year that it might support some laws with certain conditions, but the NRA website says it was opposed to the Washington state bill because it infringes on the rights of household members without due process.

The much more sweeping gun-control initiative passed by voters in November may have problems, both constitutionally and procedurally, and will ultimately be decided by the courts.

The creation of Extreme Risk Protection Order, however, is one modest measure that should be supported by everyone.

More in Opinion

Cartoon for March 23, 2019

Cartoon for March 23, 2019… Continue reading

Letter: Ferry spokesman gave reporter false information

Editor, Reporter Laura Guido was given false information by Ian Sterling, “a… Continue reading

Letter: Americans should celebrate social programs, safety nets

Editor, Dear Americans, are you for or against Social Security? Here’s what… Continue reading

Cartoon for March 20, 2019

Cartoon for March 20, 2019… Continue reading

Letter: Thank you for a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Editor, Wow. What a day. Thank you, citizens of Oak Harbor, for… Continue reading

Letter: Unaccredited hospital is not patient’s first choice

Editor, I am responding to a recent article about WhidbeyHealth’s loss of… Continue reading

Letter: Thank you to the good Samaritans for briefcase

Editor, Dear wonderful, thoughtful people. Bud and I wish to thank you… Continue reading

Letter: Border security, integrity ensures sovereignty, safety

Editor, Simple question: Are we the United States of America, or are… Continue reading

Most Read