By Erich Ebel
After concurring with changes made by the House of Representatives, the Washington State Senate sent Senate Bill 5282 – sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, and chairman of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee – to the governor’s desk for his ceremonial signature. Carrell said it was a proud moment when he heard the news.
“So many of our state’s areas of concern stem from an overwhelmed and under-resourced mental-health system,” Carrell said. “It’s time we took a comprehensive look at all aspects of mental-health treatment in Washington and Senate Bill 5282 is the right place to start.”
SB 5282 would require the state Department of Licensing to convene a work group made up of representatives from the Washington State Patrol, the state Department of Social and Health Services and its 11 Regional Support Networks, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the superior courts. The group would be tasked with developing a proposal for the consolidation of statewide involuntary commitment data in order to provide accurate and efficient verification of eligibility to possess a firearm.
“Too many violent crimes come about after someone without the necessary mental stability is able to obtain a firearm, and it’s clear to me that something needs to be done,” Carrell said. “In time, we’ll hopefully develop a consolidated statewide database of involuntary-commitment data, but the immediate need is for law enforcement to have the ability to determine whether a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to mental illness or other legal disqualification.”
The only change to the bill made by the House of Representatives was to require the work group to report its recommendations to the governor and Legislature by Dec. 1, 2013.
SB 5282 passed the Senate and House unanimously and will take effect on July 27.