A 91-year-old man with dementia surrendered 18 guns to Seattle police last week after his family reported concerns that he might hurt himself or others, according to authorities.
His family shared those fears with police in August after the man “began threatening to shoot anyone that came to his home,” Seattle police said Monday in a news release.
Police said the family “knew he had firearms in the house and were very concerned.”
Police successfully petitioned the King County Superior Court to get an extreme risk protection order and said they then served the order last week. The man was not identified.
“The man voluntarily turned over eighteen firearms from inside his West Seattle home,” police said. “The firearms were submitted into evidence for safekeeping.”
Police shared a photo of the seized weapons, showing an assortment of handguns and rifles.
Extreme risk protection orders are available throughout Washington and “prevent individuals at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms by allowing family, household members, and police to obtain a court order when there is demonstrated evidence that the person poses a significant danger,” according to a Seattle Police Department fact page.
Police said factors that demonstrate a person is a risk “include violent behavior, threats of self-harm, dangerous mental health crisis, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.”
A study earlier this year found that more than a third of older people in Washington live in homes with firearms, with many of them unsafely stored, according to Reuters.
“Almost one in four participants with firearms at home kept at least one gun loaded and unlocked — the type of storage most associated with accidental injuries and suicide,” Reuters reported.
“There is some evidence that safe storage of firearms can mitigate the risk of suicide in homes of older adults with dementia or depressive symptoms,” study author Erin Morgan of the University of Washington said, according to Reuters.