Grant County prosecutor D. Angus Lee is proposing legislation that he says will make it harder for the mentally ill to access and misuse firearms.
“In an effort to reduce criminal misuse of firearms, I am proposing a simple amendment to RCW 9.41.047(3) that I anticipate will have universal support, will reduce or prevent future gun violence, and will have little or no fiscal impact,” Lee said this week.
He said the current law allows for the restoration of firearm rights for those with mental health issues so severe that they have been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
In a letter to Rep. Matt Manweller and Rep. Judy Warnick, Lee contends:
“The reason the current law fails to adequately protect the public is because 1) it provides no minimum time after the involuntary commitment and completion of treatment that must pass before firearm rights can be restored and 2) the once involuntarily committed person is required to establish current mental health by only a mere preponderance of the evidence.”
Lee is proposing a mandatory minimum waiting period of 12 months before firearm restoration rights are restored.
“This issue is big and it is real,” Lee said, “but the fix is small, cheap, and easy.”
Lee is calling for legislators to revise the current law.