As a Tacoma pediatrician I know first hand the devastating impact of a gun death. The suffering and void that just one shooting leaves makes it difficult to grasp that nearly two people a day are killed by a gun in our state. Over three quarters are self-inflicted.
This November voters can make a difference by voting yes on Initiative 1491. I-1491 will create Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) in Washington.
ERPOs empower family and law enforcement to appeal for a judge to temporarily restrict individuals from having a gun when there is clear evidence they are high risk for harming themselves or others. Not only does this just make sense, in Connecticut, a state roughly half the size of Washington with a similar law in place, estimates are that as many as 76 suicides have been averted. This happens because identified high risk individuals are more likely to get help, and if they attempt suicide, they’re less likely to use a gun and instead use a less lethal method.
The Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse I-1491. Vote yes on I-1491. It is a life-saving prescription for people in Washington.
(Julian W. Ayer is a Tacoma pediatrician who serves on the boards of the Pierce County Medical Society and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics)