Salomon bills to provide more protection and support to victims of domestic violence pass in the Senate

Saturday, February 18, 2023

State capitol in Olympia
Olympia — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), which will provide more protection and support to victims of domestic violence, has been passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. 

Seven Republican and 29 Democratic senators voted for passage.

Salomon’s SB 5231 would add clarity and accountability to the legal process at a critical moment – when the court is making decisions about someone charged or arrested for domestic violence. Although courts are required to order the surrender of firearms and dangerous weapons when entering certain protection orders at arraignment hearings for crimes of domestic violence, this comes too late in the process to ensure accountability and true safety for the victims.

“As a public defender, I saw how it is possible for a defendant in a domestic violence case, when ordered by a court to surrender guns, to lie and say they don’t own any,” said Salomon. 
“There is no standardized system to follow up and check on this. This bill addresses this issue by having officers remove guns at the scene of the crime with the consent of the victim and judge.”

Firearms are by far the most common weapons used in domestic violence homicides. Recent research studies reinforce the importance of effective implementation. States that, in addition to laws prohibiting firearms, also have laws specifying how disqualified abusers were required to surrender those firearms saw a reduction in domestic violence homicides. States that prohibited firearms but did not have laws specifying how those guns would be relinquished did not see the same protective effects.

“Although we’ve made important progress in recent years by enacting laws and policies that attempt to keep guns out of the hands of abusive partners, we have learned that focus on implementation and enforcement is critical,” said Casey Morris of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Laws that prohibit firearm possession do not work on the honor system. Fatality reviews have repeatedly shown that laws prohibiting firearms for abusers are not effective without clear, specific procedures and mechanisms for accountability.

The Senate also passed SB 5006 on Wednesday to strengthen Washington’s first-in-the-nation law that provides people at risk of a psychological crisis or suicide the option to voluntarily give up their right to keep a firearm.

“This bill will make improvements to an important suicide prevention tool so people in crisis can take proactive steps and hopefully prevent a tragedy,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), the bill’s sponsor. Seven Republican and 29 Democratic senators voted for passage.

Both bills are now moving to the House for consideration.

Sen. Jesse Salomon, D-Shoreline, represents the 32nd Legislative District, which includes Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodway, and unincorporated Snohomish County.


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