Election Guide 2016

Vote Yes on I-1491 to Help Take Guns From People At Risk of Hurting Themselves or Others

This is common sense gun legislation that constitutional scholars say stands up to scrutiny.

This is common-sense gun legislation. I-1491 would create a civil process so that people who’ve demonstrated a clear risk of hurting themselves or others can’t buy or own guns for up to a year. It’s a simple, and crucial, method for preventing some of the most preventable forms of gun violence—those caused by people who’ve already demonstrated clear signs of distress. Hindsight is 20/20. But many mass shooters have indeed shown signs of violence before they’ve committed mass violence—Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, for instance, beat and abused his ex-wife. Also, far more people shoot themselves than they do others; nearly 80 percent of all gun deaths in Washington state are suicides, and, research shows, some 80 percent of people who attempt suicide exhibited warning signs beforehand. I-1491 would allow family members and police to act on that distress, and gather evidence to petition a judge for an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” hearing. Only after receiving a preponderance of evidence would a judge temporarily remove someone’s right to bear arms. Opponents of the measure argue that taking away a person’s rights before they officially commit a crime is an unsettling precedent. But the measure builds on a civil hearing process that already exists in Washington for victims of sexual assault whose assailants were not prosecuted (Sexual Assault Protection Orders function like restraining orders by requiring the offender to stay away from the victim). Plus, I-1491 does not, according to constitutional law experts, violate due process, because the maximum amount of time allowed between the seizure of someone’s guns and the civil hearing is two weeks. “So your guns are taken away for 14 days,” says Marilyn Balcerak, citizen sponsor of I-1491 after her son shot and killed his stepsister and then himself last summer. She believes she could sense the danger long before that. “Isn’t that worth somebody’s life?”

Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.

More in News & Comment

The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity filed an appeal to the Seattle Hearing Examiner on Monday evening. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Coalition Appeals Zoning Changes

The 26-group coalition filed an appeal against proposed upzoning that aims to increase housing affordability.

Jenny Durkan Sworn in as Mayor of Seattle

The city’s first female mayor in over a century began her first shift on a citywide tour.

Mastermind of State’s Biggest Ponzi Scheme Escapes From Prison

Frederick Darren Berg had been indicted for fraud in 2012.

Facing Cuts From City, Homeless Service Providers Request a Reprieve

Funding would be cut for at least 300 shelter beds in Seattle, as well as hygiene and support services.

What Has Changed in the Year Since the Passage of Seattle’s Hotel Worker Law?

According to hotel housekeepers on The Westin’s night shift, not much.

Activists and Politicians Rally for Stronger Tenant Protections

During the event, State Representative Nicole Macri announced that she will be introducing legislation to repeal a statewide ban on rent control.

Photo by Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia
Reports of Assault in the Air Could Be Taking Off

As Randi Zuckerberg accuses Alaska Airlines of inaction, one Seattleite collects accounts of a problem she expects to become more prevalent.

The hummus comes one of five ways. Photo by Nicole Sprinkle
A New Hummus Bar on Capitol Hill Delivers Unexpected Brilliance

A lively atmosphere and fantastic food make Aviv a delectable destination.

Most Read