Gun Control: Seattle police uses new mental-health law to confiscate gun from non-violent man

On March 1, 2018, Seattle’s police department became the first law enforcement agency in Washington state to confiscate a firearm under a new law known as an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) — a gun control law that permits police or family members, with a judge’s permission, to temporarily take firearms from people who may present a danger to others or themselves.

The unnamed 31-year-old man, who is suspected of being mentally ill, is described by neighbors as “intimidating” people and “staring down” customers through store-front windows with a gun holstered at his side. Tony Montana, who knows the man from his apartment complex, said, “He was roaming the hallways with a .25 caliber automatic. And it created a lot of fear obviously because I didn’t know if he was coming after me or gonna just start shooting the place up.”

Note: Washington state allows concealed carry of firearms, with permit.

Seattle police say the department received several calls about the man’s escalating behavior, including from a restaurant near the man’s home in the 2200 block of Second Avenue complaining that the man was harassing them while carrying a holstered firearm. The volume of complaints convinced Seattle police to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), aka red flag law, requiring the man to surrender all his firearms.

The man refused to comply, so police returned with a warrant, arrested him at his apartment, seized a .25 caliber handgun, and are in the process of recovering several other firearms the man owned that are currently with a family member.

Sources: KOMO News; KATU2

On November 8, 2016, the Washington State legislature passed Initiative Measure No. 1491: Extreme Risk Protection Act (ERPA), which allows police to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed to be mentally ill and so are “at high risk of harming themselves or others.”

ERPA claims that individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others often exhibit signs that alert family, household members, or law enforcement to the threat. Signs that the person “may soon commit an act of violence” can include “acts or threats of violence, self-harm, or the abuse of drugs or alcohol”. Accordingly, ERPA provides “a court procedure for family, household members, and law enforcement to obtain an [extreme risk protection] order temporarily restricting a person’s access to firearms.”

After a family member or law enforcement petitions for an ERPO, the superior court of the state of Washington must order a hearing to be held not later than 14 days from the date of the order. But the court can issue an ex parte Extreme Risk Protection Order even before a hearing.

In that hearing, the individual targeted for an ERPO has the burden of proof and must prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that he/she “does not pose a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.”

During the hearing, the court will determine whether grounds for an Extreme Risk Protection Order exists by considering “any relevant evidence,” including

  • Any act or threat of violence;
  • “dangerous mental health issues” — whatever that means;
  • “stalking”;
  • conviction for domestic violence;
  • “abuse of controlled substances or alcohol”;
  • ownership, access to, or intent to possess firearms“;
  • “unlawful or reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm”;
  • recent acquisition of firearms

In other words, merely owning a firearm is “evidence” to justify an Extreme Risk Protection Order that will be used to remove or confiscate the firearm.

The duration of an ERPO is one year, but the order can be renewed. For Washington state’s one-page brochure on ERPO, click here.

Five states have passed the ERPO law: Washington, Oregon, California, Indiana and Connecticut. Texas has a modified version. At the federal level, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation last May that would encourage states to adopt ERPO. (Washington Post)

Both Democrats and Republicans are receptive to ERPO, but not the National Rifle Association. In a statement, the NRA says the Extreme Risk Protection Order “strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights [and] would be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner.” (Wikipedia)

See also:


34 responses to “Gun Control: Seattle police uses new mental-health law to confiscate gun from non-violent man


  2. How can this even pass a court review on due process? Just the burden of proof part should toss the law

    Liked by 5 people

  3. We all know that Seattle went over the socialist bend long ago, and it’s sad because it’s a beautiful city and there is so much to do there, but those leading this city are hell bent communists, and you better tow the line or they’ll get ya.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. On the face of it the law seems reasonable. On the other hand it might be used in dystopian Seattle as a bill of attainder, inasmuch as the accused, without hearing or trial, is found by some leftist kangaroo court to be a serious threat—based on, say, deeply held pro-life beliefs, which to leftists are proof of mental illness—, and so the ERPO order becomes a defensible prior authorization of execution by cop during a raid. The left gets off on this stuff since they know they have no fear of American patriots doing this to them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t buy it on any level. Did they take the knives, hammers, lawn mower, crochet mallets, rocks, garden ornaments, etc.? The standard for something like this should be very specific to an individual and limited to specific threat or set of circumstances.

      What gives them the right to cancel someone’s rights in favor of their tender mercies? If they want to confine him, I suppose while he’s under their “care” they can do as they wish (within reason). Once out, that’s another matter.

      Before any of this occurred I was not happy with some of these rulings from judges. How can they tell someone that they cannot access the internet, for example? They do.

      Every time someone cooperates with this tyranny it worsens.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. In liberal jurisdictions, being Republican will probably be used as proof of mental derangement.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Yes, absolutely. In my view it already is. They are openly associating conservatism with insanity. Anyone who doesn’t want globalism is a “White Supremacist”. Anyone with morals is “racist”.

      The minute that they think they can they will simply say, “anyone registered Republican no longer has gun rights”. They would do it in a heartbeat. Why? Because none of this is about crime or public safety. It is about THEIR personal safety and its a job assignment from their owners.

      Liked by 4 people

      • ” They are openly associating conservatism with insanity.”
        Makes sense-I’ve considered Liberalism a form of insanity for as long as I’ve known what a Liberal is.
        The main difference being there’s verifiable PROOF Liberals are insane.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. The slippery slope is any one who has a grudge against you can call it in. so how many false arrest will they make and will any of the guns be given back once you prove it was a fake call? This leaves it open for who ever. and think for a sec how long before the folks on the left get the drift and start call in anyone they see with a gun. And does this not open the door for some major law suits for violation of Constitution and so we just chuck the bill of rights right out the door. Communism at its best my friends by way of the left.

    Liked by 4 people

    • “The slippery slope is any one who has a grudge against you can call it in.”


      And once ERPO is invoked, then the burden of proof is on the gun-owner to “prove” he’s not a danger to himself or others. What happened to our judicial principle of “innocent until proven guilty”?

      Liked by 2 people

      • My daughter’s gun shop in California is to the rafters with these. People use it to settle old scores, to harass people they don’t like, you name it. It’s like the property confiscation laws. They just grab them and you have to “prove” worthy to own your own property.

        Liked by 2 people

    • just as with the sexual accusations,there will need to be definite proof to back up any accusations,and law to sue or arrest and prosecute people who make accusations that can’t be proven sufficiently to convict.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I am completely pro 2nd Amendment and I completely agree this new ERPO law is a slippery slope.
    But, I personally know people that should NOT be allowed to own a gun and yet they do.
    The most frightening aspect is the ERPO law being administered by liberals.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know people who shouldn’t be owning a 170 mph motorcycle,but they still have that right. Until they make a big mistake,we can’t fairly stop ’em. We can only hope we aren’t anywhere near the scene when the odds catch up with ’em and take ’em outta the gene pool.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So are they providing mental care to this individual while he’s in jail? Or are they propping him up on useless meds? Taking his guns and throwing him in jail is just a band aid, if he truly has a mental disorder.

    And how long before he gets to speak his case before a judge?

    So glad I moved out of Washington state…

    Liked by 3 people

    • No mention in ERPO of providing mental health care/therapy to the accused.

      Liked by 3 people

    • They are not qualified to make a determination of whether someone is an “extreme risk” or not. In fact, if I were them, I would be VERY cautious about assuming a role for which I had no training or credentials.

      IF (and it’s a big IF), he broke the law by “harassing” or “causing a public disturbance”, they could take him in for a psychiatric evaluation and go from there. I do not think that throwing him in jail (for what?) is legal or appropriate.

      Simply wearing a gun is not illegal. “Brandishing” is. Did he “brandish”. If they say that he did they’ll have to prove it. If they didn’t see it themselves they’ll have to get citizens to testify that he did.

      There is nothing new here and everything doesn’t go out the window because there’s a gun involved and somebody wants to make a test case out of it.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Seattle goes after this guy, who committed no crime, yet they DO NOTHING about actual crime:

    “There is a gang war underway in South Seattle. That has been clear for some time. There are also a string of home invasion robberies plaguing South Seattle. Residents of the area are sick of it, some are scared. None of them will get any help at all from Jenny Durkan or the so-called King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

    Seattle is becoming literally lawless. Criminals know it, drug cartels know, sniveling, whining, smelly people who lay down in the roads all day to protest for never jailing a teenager for any reason at any time. Sadly and tragically, the citizens of South Seattle–my home for many happy years–also know it. Maybe the Seattle elites will finally realized that voting for pot parties, abortion, men in women and girls showers and who hates Trump most will do nothing to actually bring about responsible governance of a once beautiful city.”

    Elections have consequences, folks.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Sounds like some folks didn’t like how this guy LOOKED at them… maybe he’s SICK of how citizens are being treated, and just has grown that, “Don’t MESS with me!” scowl. Which, by the way, isn’t threatening; it’s self-preservation.
    Neither is failing to agree with the pack mentality and PC political view, nor is traveling alone rather than in the company of a roving hoard of idiots, which is what society wants and expects of “normal” people. But, if you don’t meet their pre-conceptions in appearance, thought, talk, and actions, you’re automatically suspect. So call a cop and report it. Especially if you’re white, male, Christian, conservative, pro-life, Republican, etc. Big Brother…

    Liked by 3 people

  11. If ya gonna scare people just cause you open carry then you deserve it when the gov’t takes away the guns….


  12. Pingback: Gun Control: Seattle police uses new mental-health law to confiscate gun from non-violent man — Fellowship of the Minds – THE BIG BUCK HUNTER 2018

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