Story by: Keith Eldridge

Survivors of domestic violence say it’s critical to have firearms taken away from abusers right at the time police are first called. They said it is urgent state lawmakers pass a bill that would do just that.

“Domestic abusers should not have access to firearms, period,” said domestic abuse survivor Rebecca Houghton.

She told state senators Monday she wants to prevent tragedies such as the shooting death of Jennifer Morgan and her 13-week-old daughter Emma by her boyfriend Daniel Hicks in Seattle in 2011. And the 2015 domestic violence murder by Zachary Craven who shot and killed his grandmother, Angelika Hayden and his ex-girlfriend’s best friend, Meagan Smith.

Domestic violence survivors push for bill requiring suspects to lose guns for 5 days{p}{/p}

“Because I do know firsthand that the intersection of guns and domestic violence is deadly,” she stated. “Nearly 1 million American women have been shot by their intimate partner.”

She testified in support of the domestic violence bill (HB 1225) that requires police to take firearms away when they first go to a domestic violence call. It also allows police to keep the weapons for five days and allows judges to prohibit firearms as a condition of release from jail.

“The most dangerous times for victims of domestic violence are when they are trying to leave a relationship and immediately following a domestic violence arrest,” said domestic violence survivor Logan Rysemus.

“Every time another shooting is in the news, we feel it deeply,” said Catherine Person, gun violence survivor. “We know the long rocky road is ahead for the survivor family.” Her brother was shot dead 45 years ago. “The loss never ends. Even to this day we still feel it.”

“On a very scary night in 1984 my abusive and imbalanced first husband towered over me with a gun and threatened to kill me and the people that I loved and then himself,” testified Trese Todd March 25th on a similar bill (HB 1786).

Todd and supporters of this bill say police need more authority with protection orders especially in taking firearms away. “The presence of a firearm can turn a turbulent situation deadly in the blink of an eye,” testified Sgt. Dorothy Kim of the Seattle Police Department.

The Protection Orders Bill would strengthen procedures for protection, restraining, and no-contact orders including immediate surrender of firearms, dangerous weapons, and concealed pistol licenses.

An opponent of the bill, Radona Devereaux of the group “Silent No More,” testified “when the officer shows up at the house the officer is under orders to go in and search that person’s house. They haven’t even had their day in court to defend themselves.”

The sponsor of the two bills, Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) said the personal testimony is what is keeping these bills alive.

“It’s someone who has been a victim of domestic violence and is recovering now and trying to rebuild their lives in a scary circumstance,” she said. “I give a lot of credit to people who come down and tell their stories.”

“And, I believe that is why you hear so many survivors speak out, which is not easy for us, but we do it not to tell our stories, but to make sure it doesn’t happen to somebody else,” said Todd.

“Testifying to me is really an opportunity to take my experience and that pain and turn it into something good and something positive,” said Houghton.

“It’s a way to turn a really detrimental and harmful situation into an empowering one,” said Rysemus.

HB 1786 has passed the full House and the senate committee and is waiting for a floor vote. HB 1225 passed the full House and is expected to get a vote in the senate committee Tuesday.

Read the original story here.