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Thread: Checking a firearm in a mental health court?

  1. #1
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    Checking a firearm in a mental health court?

    So I may be going to court on Wednesday or Thursday to testify against my brother in law in regards to his mental illness. He is currently admitted to Valley Medical Center, and is pending an evaluation. The hearing would be in regards to getting him involuntarily committed to a mental health facility. They said it would be a "Hearing at a mental health court"

    They did not specify where it would be, or what type of jurisdiction it falls under, so that is all I know for now - until I find out more information.

    Does anyone know if the "mental health court" has the same laws regarding checking a firearm as a traditional court of law or civil court?

    The only "mental health court" I read under King County was in regards to those who are in violation of the law, and are being charged with a crime. This is not the case with him, so I am not sure.
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 12-12-2010 at 11:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Rcw 9.41.300

    Here is how I read the following:


    RCW 9.41.300

    Weapons prohibited in certain places Local laws and ordinances Exceptions Penalty.

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a weapon:


    (c) The restricted access areas of a public mental health facility certified by the department of social and health services for inpatient hospital care and state institutions for the care of the mentally ill, excluding those facilities solely for evaluation and treatment. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public;



    (5) The perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by subsection (1) of this section shall be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public as to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.

    (8) Subsection (1)(c) of this section does not apply to any administrator or employee of the facility or to any person who, upon entering the place or facility, directly and promptly proceeds to the administrator of the facility or the administrator's designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm while on the premises.

    (10) Any person violating subsection (1) of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.



    You will know because the facility is required by subsection (5) to post signage if it is a banned facility. From your explanation and what I read above, it does not sound like you will be in a banned facility. As it must be a certified facility. However, please check and verify for yourself. Note, that a mental health facility as defined by 9.41.300 is not required to provide lock boxes or a designated official for safe keeping of a firearm. Only subsection (1b) requires this clause (i.e. courts). Also note that you may pursue written permission to carry. Perhaps a licensed armed guard in the state of Washington would be compelling for the administrator to grant permission.
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  3. #3
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    I just spoke with a representative from Sound Mental Health, and she informed me that the building is under the jurisdiction of King County, and is across the street from Harborview Hospital in Seattle.

    Here is the link to their website

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/Sup.../ITACourt.aspx

    It states that

    "You will pass through a security screening checkpoint as you enter the Mental Illness courtroom suite within the Ninth and Jefferson Building. Certain items may not be brought into the facility and must be left with security personnel at the checkpoint before you enter. Please take a moment to learn about the items prohibited from King County court facilities."

    On the link, it redirects me to a page that has a list of items prohibited for all King County Courts. I also did not read anything that suggests it's an actual mental health facility. I was able to obtain a phone number, so I will call them tomorrow to see if they provide lock boxes, considering they are a civil court that falls under King County jurisdiction.

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Sounds like a court...

    and under the jurisdiction of the courts and then must follow the lock box rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    I just spoke with a representative from Sound Mental Health, and she informed me that the building is under the jurisdiction of King County, and is across the street from Harborview Hospital in Seattle.

    Here is the link to their website

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/Sup.../ITACourt.aspx

    It states that

    "You will pass through a security screening checkpoint as you enter the Mental Illness courtroom suite within the Ninth and Jefferson Building. Certain items may not be brought into the facility and must be left with security personnel at the checkpoint before you enter. Please take a moment to learn about the items prohibited from King County court facilities."

    On the link, it redirects me to a page that has a list of items prohibited for all King County Courts. I also did not read anything that suggests it's an actual mental health facility. I was able to obtain a phone number, so I will call them tomorrow to see if they provide lock boxes, considering they are a civil court that falls under King County jurisdiction.
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  5. #5
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    I'll be sure to follow up here tomorrow, with an answer.

  6. #6
    Regular Member cbpeck's Avatar
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    Aaron,

    I don't know whether or not you're legally entitled to carry to the hearing. What I'm quite certain of, however, is that you will not be allowed to OC during the hearing. You may be able to get away with CC if the facility doesn't have a metal detector. But even that would be against policy, I'm sure.

    I suppose it comes down to what's more important to you: your testimony on your B-I-L's treatment or your right to OC.

    Sometimes we have to pick our battles.

  7. #7
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    Follow up:

    I spoke with the General Manager of the court this morning. I inquired about lock boxes, and he assured me that the court provides lock boxes. He told me to inform the security screener that I need to check a firearm, and they'll have a King County Deputy walk me to a room. Considering it is a traditional court, they have to provide lock boxes.

    I later found out that none of this matters at the time, because my brother in law decided to accept the 14 day inpatient program at Fairfax hospital, so I will not be needing to testify.

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