Senate Democrats take away self-defense rights from domestic violence victims

Majority Democrats in the state Senate on Thursday approved House Bill 1225, which would require law enforcement officers to remove lawfully owned firearms when responding to a domestic violence call. The proposal would prohibit return of any firearms seized in such a response for five business days.

Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, opposed the measure because it removes officer discretion and endangers domestic violence victims.

“I agree that we need to do whatever we can to protect victims of domestic violence,” said Fortunato. “You don’t do that by taking away a victim’s right to protect themselves with a legally owned firearm. Politicians in Olympia are saying they know better than the police, they know better than a victim who is exercising their constitutional rights to protect themselves and their family. It leaves many women defenseless at a very vulnerable time.”

Fortunato offered an amendment on the Senate floor that would have empowered victims to make a decision about the removal of a firearm in a domestic violence call.

“This bill is not about protecting victims,” Fortunato said. “It is about taking away the right of self-defense from law-abiding citizens. The majority doesn’t even think victims should be able to decide for themselves if the presence of a firearm would make them safer. They know better. What I know is that women across our state should be very concerned that if they are a victim of domestic violence, they have no recourse to protect themselves other than words on paper.”