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Gun suspension initiative appears headed to November ballot

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gun control advocates are a big step closer to getting an initiative on the November ballot.

On Thursday, they turned in over 300,000 signatures for Initiative-1491, which would allow guns to be taken away from those who pose serious threats.

“I was afraid of my son, I was afraid for my son,” said Marilyn Balcerak, citizen sponsor of I-1491.  “But there was nothing I could do to keep him from getting a gun.  He killed himself and his stepsister, and I was powerless to do anything about it.”

Initiative 1491 would allow family members or law enforcement to petition to have someone's gun rights suspended.  Supporters argue that so many gun tragedies are committed by people who showed clear signs beforehand that he or she is a harm to themselves or others.

“If extreme risk protection orders had been law two years ago,” Balcerak said, “I would have been able to go to court, tell a judge that my son wanted to kill himself, and that I was terrified that he would hurt himself.”

Here’s how Initiative 1491 would work:

  • Request by families or law enforcement
  • Hearing before a judge
  • Evidence of harm to self of others
  • Suspension of firearm for up to a year

Critics argue that there will be people who frivolously or maliciously ask for someone’s gun to be taken away.  They also object to the money being poured into this by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“What we really need is a restraining-protection order law that stops Bloomberg and his cadre of anti-rights organizations from spending millions of dollars to violate our right of due process,” said Alan Gottlieb, head of The Second Amendment Foundation, to Guns.com.

Supporters submitted 330,000 signatures Thursday, far above the 250,000 requirement.  I-1491 is very likely headed to the November ballot.