OLYMPIA — The Washington State Senate voted to extend Extreme Risk Protection Orders to minors in a bipartisan 43-5 vote on March 5.
Senate Bill 5027 extends Extreme Risk Protection Orders or ERPOs to minors. ERPOs are civil court orders that prevent individuals at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms and concealed pistol licenses, temporarily. These protection orders can be filed by family members or law enforcement.
SB 5027 extends ERPOs to children and requires said child’s parents or guardians to be notified. The parents or guardians would be required to safely store any firearms in their home upon notification.
After an extreme risk protection order or ERPO is filed, a court hearing is set within the next 14 days. The court can then extend the ERPO for one year or decline to do so, after the presentation of evidence.
Senator David Frockt, D-Seattle, was a part of the mass shooting work group that looked at issues related to mass shootings during the interim. This bill addresses a unanimous recommendation from the work group.
“We all know that in 2018 we saw a spate of school shooting and we are raising, unfortunately, a generation of children who are the lockdown generation who are used to active shooter drills,” said Frockt.
The bill received bipartisan support with Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, addressing during the senate floor debate how ERPOs don’t affect minors currently and stating, “That’s an important hole to fill which this bill does.”
“So much of the discussion — the debate — when we have to address these mass shootings, has been devolved quickly into the whole Second Amendment-gun rights discussion, and there we end up often without, I think, real solutions to try to address this growing problem of violence in our communities,” said O’Ban.
Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, voiced his support, saying that if it was necessary for an ERPO to be levied against his child he would want to be notified.
The senators who voted against the bill were Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, Shelly Short, R-Addy, and Lydia Wilson, R-Vancouver.
Washington's ERPO was created with Initiative 1491, which citizens voted on and passed in November 2016.
The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.