Articles Posted in Guns in the community

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In Washington, restoring firearm rights which were lost due to an involuntary commitment for mental-health care can be a real challenge. It turns out to be much more difficult than restoring firearm rights lost due to a criminal conviction. Under either scenario, the person seeking restoration of rights must apply to a Superior Court. This similarities end there.

However, the larger challenge is that even if a Washington Superior Court order restores firearm rights following a mental-health commitment, federal authorities will not recognize the person’s right to possess firearms, and are likely to deny any request to purchase a firearm. Worse news: No procedure is available under federal law to restore firearm rights.

When a person seeks restoration of firearm rights following an involuntary commitment, a judge must restore firearm rights if the person proves the following:

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police confiscate gunWoe betide the law-abiding firearms owner unlucky enough to have his firearms seized by a law-enforcement agency in Washington.  Time and again, law-enforcement agencies delay or refuse the return of such property, even when there is no good reason for the agencies to hold it.

How, you may wonder, does a “law-abiding firearms owner” lose his lawfully owned property to the police?  Consider these true-life examples:

*A person lawfully transporting his firearm in his vehicle is involved in a collision which leaves him seriously injured.  While the injured person travels in an aid car to the hospital, police at the accident scene decide to have the damaged vehicle towed or impounded.  As part of that process, an officer lawfully searches the vehicle, finds the firearm, and takes the firearm  into safekeeping.

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527555_newspapers__2You might have expected bigger play for a news story reporting that gun homicides in the United States fell a whopping 39 percent between 1993 and 2011.  That is one of the findings from a study released this month by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.  You can find the government study online here.

Seattle-area newspaper readers interested in gun rights could easily have overlooked the  Seattle Times news story, which appeared low on an inside page.  The Washington Post gave the story  more prominent play, along with another story about a private study which showed an even bigger drop – 49 percent – in gun homicides.

Why didn’t we hear more about this report from news organizations?

Many in the pro-gun community would almost reflexively say that news reporters, editors, and broadcasters are consciously and deliberately engaged in suppressing news that might show guns in a favorable light.  That’s not it, and I speak from my perspective as a former reporter and editor for a major Pacific Northwest daily newspaper.  There is no conspiracy in the newsroom. Continue reading

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