SPOKANE, Wash. -- Some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are speaking out, angry neither the FBI or local law enforcement investigated their former classmate, despite people coming forward with information about his weapons, his desire to harm others and the potential for a mass shooting.
There are a handful of states that allow law enforcement to take people's guns before they can commit acts of violence, that includes Washington.
The Washington Post recently published this article saying there are five states that have passed Red Flag laws. This is a generic term to describe laws that allow seizure of guns before people can commit acts of violence.
Washington state is among those five states. In 2015, Washington passed a two-part law that temporarily takes guns away from people a judge deems a threat to themselves or others. It is called Sheena's Law. The bill was named after Sheena Henderson, who was murdered at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane on July 8, 2014 by her estranged husband, Chris Henderson.
Chris made suicidal threats in May 2014 and was taken to the emergency room by law enforcement. He was released only a few hours later after signing a form saying he was not a threat to himself. The first part of Sheena's law addresses this by enabling law enforcement to alert mental health professionals who can determine if someone is a threat or needs involuntary treatment. The second part, called the "Sheena Henderson Act," addresses firearms.
Shortly after deputies cleared Chris from suicide risk, he retrieved a gun confiscated by police during an earlier suicide attempt. Then, he went to the hospital where his wife was working. The Sheena Henderson Act would have prevented Chris from retrieving his gun for at least 72 hours.
During that time, the law enforcement agency would have to notify any family or household members who want to know about the gun being returned. They can get notified through phone, text or email.
The other four states with red flag laws similar to this are California, Oregon, Indiana, and Connecticut.