Kassi Jackson Hartford Courant via The Associated Press A Windsor Locks, Connecticut, family speaks to the media after a murder-suicide in May. Connecticut is one of 19 states that have red flag laws to confiscate weapons often used in domestic violence cases. If you or someone you know is concerned about domestic violence, you can call 800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit TheHotline.org for confidential help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255. Alyssa Shaw’s job is to guide Seattle-area residents through what can be one of the most wrenching and complicated experiences of their lives: petitioning civil courts to temporarily take away the firearms of a loved one in a mental health crisis who may harm themselves or others. Washington state’s extreme risk protection order law—often called a red flag law—has been on the books for five years, but most Washingtonians don’t know the law exists, let alone the details of the petitioning process, said Shaw, the state’s first red flag law advocate. Often, people find out about the law only after they call the police to report that a family or household member is making threats or is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Shaw thinks of herself as a translator of the legal system. She walks family or household members through the petition process, often gathering background information about the person who might be a threat, asking whether the petitioner feels safe and connecting them with community resources. “Families need support and it just makes the most sense that if we’re […]
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