Skip to main content

Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit

Learn more about the Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement and the dangers of guns in domestic violence situations.

Our mission

Our primary goal is to make our community safer by reducing gun violence, especially in intimate partner and family situations. We believe in working together and taking early action to enforce gun laws. We've spent years studying the best ways to enforce Washington State's laws on firearm surrender during protection orders (RCW 9.41) and extreme risk situations (RCW 7.105). Everything we do is built on the goal of reducing harm.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders brochure

View the ERPO brochure for more information (236KB)

This document has been human translated. Use the links to view this content in these languages:

Our team

We're a dedicated team serving all of King County's 40 areas. We prioritize cases based on danger levels, not where they happen. Our team includes:

  • Law enforcement from SPD and KCSO
  • Three specialized firearm prosecutors
  • Firearm Enforcement Advocates and an ERPO Advocate: They help families with firearm safety plans and give judges detailed information about firearm access. They also work with the police to make sure court orders are followed.
  • A court order expert: They help law enforcement carry out court orders.
  • Other unit members:  A paralegal, an administrative specialist, a data technician from KCSO, and a program manager.

Official Unit partner agencies include:

  • King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO)
  • Seattle City Attorney’s Office (SCAO)
  • Seattle Police Department (SPD)
  • King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO)

The many risks of firearms in the hands of domestic violence offenders

Firearms in the hands of domestic violence (DV) offenders are a deadly combination. This danger extends beyond survivors and families. These firearms pose risks to law enforcement, the community, and offenders themselves.

In Washington State, firearms are used in domestic violence homicides more often than all other weapons combined. A 2013-2014 study shows 54% of these perpetrators were already not allowed to own firearms under Washington State law.

Research shows the risk of homicide for women increases by 500% when a firearm is present in a domestic violence situation. The risk is highest when she is trying to end the relationship.

"Recent separation" is the single most important red flag to predict a lethal response, according to the highly respected Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA). 45% of domestic violence homicides occur within 90 days of separation, most within the first few days.

One of the most important elements in preventing DV fatalities is removing the firearm from the situation. Domestic violence calls also lead to more police fatalities than any other type of law enforcement response. Intervening to remove firearms from DV offenders can increase community safety across the board.  

We also know that individuals sometimes experience periods of crisis or may make threats to harm themselves or others. Having access to a firearm or making attempts to obtain firearms during periods of interpersonal crisis can be dangerous. The unit is here to assist law enforcement, and family or household members, who wish to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). An ERPO can temporarily prohibit someone who is a danger to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms. Please reach out to our ERPO inbox above for more information.