Washington House OKs bill to centralize gun background checks

Washington House OKs bill to centralize gun background checks

Gun Rights

OLYMPIA — Rarely, if ever, do the National Rifle Association and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility agree on firearms legislation. But on Thursday, the Washington House passed a bill supported by those opposing advocacy groups to centralize gun-purchase background checks under the Washington State Patrol. House Bill 2467 passed 66-32, and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Every House Democrat but one supported the bill, along with 10 Republicans. Rep. Brian Blake of Aberdeen was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The proposal would overhaul a decentralized background-check system that studies have described as fragmented, complicated and possibly loose enough to allow some people prohibited from buying guns to get one. The checks make sure would-be buyers aren’t prohibited by law from having guns, such as a felon, someone civilly committed for mental-health issues, or some people named on protection orders. In 2017, the FBI and Washington law-enforcement agencies conducted a combined 580,000 background checks on gun buyers here. A centralized system will strengthen background checks, which are “the foundation of the entire state’s gun-safety regime,” said Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island and sponsor of the bill. “You get that right, people don’t die,” Hansen said after the vote. “You get it wrong, it’s very difficult to fix.” Right now, firearms dealers contact more than 200 local law-enforcement agencies around Washington to conduct background checks to make sure buyers of handguns are allowed to have them. A voter-approved initiative in 2018, known as Initiative 1639, directed […]

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