Domestic violence is the single greatest predictor of future violent crime. When households get access to firearms this is further aggravated. There’s also the fact that domestic violence calls contribute the most to encounters that end with police fatality. These findings are especially alarming given the context that 37% of Americans own firearms, and average gun ownership per person is 8.1 for the state of Washington.
To share their experience combatting domestic and gun violence, Kimberly Wyatt and Sandra Shanahan join today’s course. Kimberly, the Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Washington state, spent half her career with KCPAO working on domestic violence cases. She is with the newly formed Domestic Violence Regional Firearms Enforcement Unit, working on firearm compliance cases, high-risk DV firearm offenders, and Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) cases. Meanwhile, Sandra is the Program Manager of the Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit. Sandra’s background involved managing the Protection Order Advocacy Program (POAP) in the Domestic Violence Unit of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from 2002 to 2017.
On the first installment of their two-part webinar series, Kimberly and Sandra will unpack the reasons for the creation of the Domestic Violence Regional Firearms Enforcement Unit and the specifics of what the agency and legislation were able to implement to address domestic abuse linked to gun violence. Some of the points they discussed are:
- Statistics and research illustrating the extent of the harm brought about by domestic violence-related shootings.
- Evidence showing domestic violence to be a great predictor of committing violent crimes in the future.
- How firearms not only pose danger to the victims – partner, children, family, and other people, but also to the offenders themselves.
- A brief history on how the Washington State Protection Order Firearms Law came to be.
- The Revised Code of Washington 9.41 that outlines the conditions necessary for firearm possession.
- An exhaustive list of the persons prohibited to own firearms in Washington.
- The ESHB 1840, also known as the Firearm Surrender Law, decreed in 2014 that sets the provisions of immediate surrender, prohibition of purchase and possession, and filing proof of surrender.
- The various civil and criminal orders that ESHB 1840 applies to.
- The instances when surrender is determined to be either mandatory or discretionary.
- The successes achieved by Washington state’s Domestic Violence Regional Firearms Enforcement Unit in terms of notification, coordination, firearm recovery, and even as a model policy.
- The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) that prevents individuals from accessing firearms and harming others as well as themselves.
- The red flags observed in people that are likely to be served an ERPO, the powers, and limits of an ERPO, and the people who may file for an ERPO.
- Other changes in Washington laws that aim to support the gun violence and domestic abuse initiatives.
- Current practice and areas for expansion for the Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit and its team structure.
- How all the initiatives tie up to address and implement the four key concepts on DV and firearms link.