Strengthening Laws

Dangerous Access Prevention

Keeping guns out of dangerous hands is one of the most effective things we can do to keep our communities safe.

Why Dangerous Access Prevention

Unsecured guns taken from the home by children or prohibited people have been at the heart of some of the most tragic gun violence incidents in our state. More than 75 percent of all youth suicide attempts are committed with a gun found in the home and over a 25-year period, more than 65 percent of school shooters obtained the firearm at their home or that of a relative.

Together with background checks and Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Dangerous Access Prevention will help make our communities safer by ensuring firearms are safely and responsibly stored.

Far too many tragedies have occurred in Washington State because of firearms used in crimes were not properly stored, including:

  • The 2016 Burlington mall shooting was committed by a young man court ordered not to possess firearms after a domestic violence case. In 2015, a 15 year old boy shot five of his classmates at Marysville-Pilchuck highschool using a rifle from his home.
  • In 2008, one month after being released from jail, convicted felon Isaac Zamora broke into a neighbor’s home, stole a rifle, handgun and ammunition which he used to kill six people.
  • In 2012 accidental shooting of elementary student Amina Bowman by a classmate who brought a gun to school in his backpack.

Despite these tragedies, it virtually impossible to hold anyone accountable if a child or prohibited person access an unsafely stored firearm and uses it to kill or injure themselves or someone else.

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How Will Dangerous Access Prevention Help?

Dangerous Access Prevention is built upon successful policies in Florida, California and 28 other states which have helped keep guns out of dangerous hands. States with access prevention laws in place for at least one year saw a 23% drop in unintentional firearm deaths among youth younger than 15. As well, during a 25-year period, over 65% of school shooters obtained the firearm used in the crime at their home or that of a relative. One study found that more than 75% of the guns used in youth suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.

This policy encourages responsible gun storage by creating the potential for criminal liability, depending on the severity of the incident, if a person’s unsafely stored firearm is accessed by a child or anyone prohibited by law from possessing a gun. This includes:

  • Children under the age of 18 years’ old
  • People convicted of felonies
  • Domestic abusers
  • Individuals subject to Domestic Violence Protection Orders or Extreme Risk Protection Orders

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