Voluntary waiver of firearm rights is close to becoming law

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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about schools reopening during a past news conference. (Screenshot courtesy of TVW)
Masks required at big outdoor events; vaccine mandates expanded

Governor’s mask order takes effect Sept. 13.

This is a screenshot that shows the pursuit of a stolen vehicle Sept. 1 on Interstate 5 in King County.
VIDEO: Auburn police let suspected vehicle thief go, citing new laws

State laws passed earlier this spring require police to have probable cause to engage in a pursuit.

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo
Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had… Continue reading

Matt Axe, the Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator with the King Conservation District, speaks to homeowner Anita Kissee-Wilder about fire reduction strategies at her home in North Bend on Aug. 24. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
King County braces for more wildfires in rural areas

Firefighters have already responded to a number of large fires.

t
New data dashboard tracks COVID-19 risk for unvaccinated, vaccinated people

Information compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County

This 2019 security footage at the Cenex gas station in Black Diamond shows Anthony Chilcott on his phone before entering, and driving off with, Carl Sanders’ Ford Raptor and Monkey, his poodle, in the front seat. Courtesy photo
Oversight office releases scathing report on King County Sheriff’s Office

Report analyzes 2019 killing of Anthony Chilcott by deputies.

Close-up hand using phone in night time on street. File photo
King County Council steps closer to establishing hate crime hotline

The program is aimed at reducing the number of unreported hate crimes.

A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Northgate Link light rail testing moves into final stages

Three new north Seattle stations opening Oct. 2

Gov. Jay Inslee (left) bumps elbows with Auburn Vaccine Clinic staff member Mary Johnson (right) on June 22, 2021. Inslee visited the clinic to promote vaccinations in lower King County. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
COVID-19 surge puts strain on local hospitals

Delta is the predominate strain in Washington.

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip. (Photo courtesy of United States Military)
King County Councilman calls for plan to help Afghan refugees settle here

Washington state expects roughly 6,000 refugees to come from Afghanistan.