Last week, the Washington State Hospital Association Public Policy Committee and Board of Trustees voted to endorse Initiative 1491. Known as the extreme risk protection order initiative, I-1491 would allow family members and law enforcement officers to ask a judge to keep firearms out of the hands of someone deemed a danger to themselves or others. WSHA member interest stems from the fact that we directly see the results of suicides, attempted suicides and homicides in our emergency rooms. We also have daily encounters with people who are demonstrating the potential to harm themselves or others. A hospital’s mission is to save lives, and we believe I-1491 could prevent harm.
Each extreme risk protection order could be in force for up to one year. The court’s decision may be appealed. In order to prevent abuse of the extreme risk protection order measure, it would be a gross misdemeanor to file a petition falsely or for the purpose of harassing someone. The initiative will be on the November ballot — expect to receive ballots in the mail within the next week. (Cassie Sauer)