Seattle Police First to Seize a Handgun Under ‘Mental Health’ Law

   03.07.18

To paraphrase Donald Trump, “Take the guns first, due process later.” That’s exactly the sort of thing statists of all sorts, and most (if not all) anti-gunners, love to hear. And unsurprisingly, it’s already happening in Seattle, Washington.

Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law went into effect last June, but has only recently been exercised forcibly. Seattle’s police department became the first in the state to seize a citizen’s gun under the law when it reportedly disarmed a man who had been “roaming the hallways [of an apartment complex] with a 25 caliber automatic.”

In this particular case, taking the man’s gun seems reasonable enough. Neighbors of the man said he had been intimidating them for quite some time while wearing a holstered handgun, and complaints had also been made by a number of local businesses. When asked to hand over the gun, the man refused. It was only after police obtained a warrant that they were able to force him to give up his firearm.

Under current law, the gun must be returned after one year unless the ERPO is renewed.

Opinion

Does this make anyone safer? Perhaps, for a little while. But if this fellow wants another gun, he will get one — legally or not. And if he decides to shoot someone, he’s going to shoot someone. What this does, more than anything else, is set a dangerous precedent for government confiscation of privately-held firearms. The danger is in the definition of “mental illness,” and/or any other parameters. Once a government begins using force to disarm citizens, their reasons and means of doing so tends to expand.

When police someday come to your door saying they’ve received complaints about you and begin asking questions about firearms, what then? Perhaps you sought counseling for depression in the past and now the government has decided you’re not fit to own a gun. They’ve brought a warrant — and they’ve brought their own guns so they can force you to comply.

What then?

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