NRA turns up heat on Washington state legislators over background checks

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OLYMPIA, (AP) — The National Rifle Association is increasing pressure on Washington state lawmakers who have endorsed a plan to expand gun background checks, specifically targeting a Republican lawmaker who supports the effort.

In a note mailed to its Washington members, the NRA called for “URGENT” action to contact GOP Rep. Mike Hope, who works as a Seattle police officer and previously had the NRA’s support. The group said Hope’s vote could determine the fate of a “sweeping gun control measure.”

Hope supports the background check plan, saying Tuesday it is a reasonable way to help keep guns away from violent criminals and the mentally ill. Hope said he’s invited the NRA to help shape the bill and will propose changes to make it better.

“What frustrates me is that they’re not really looking at that stuff,” Hope said of the NRA. “They’re just looking at a unilateral ‘no’ to everything, and they’re not looking for a solution.”

The bill would expand checks to sales between private parties.

uGun buyers already have to undergo a background check if they purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer. The bill supported by Hope and many Democrats would expand that to sales between private parties, with Hope saying criminals purchase guns privately to avoid having to prove that they are legally allowed to own one.

Hope said he’s received about 300 emails related to the gun bill and believes there are a lot of misconceptions about what it does. In the memo the NRA sent to its members, the group said the bill would have no impact on criminals and would be “the first steps toward universal registration of firearms and owners.” It called the background checks plan “a massive regulatory scheme with huge burdens and obstacles.”

Hope said the note is inaccurate. He said records of the background checks would not be maintained or part of a registration system. Under the bill, two people wanting to complete a transaction could go to their local gun shop or local law enforcement agency and pay for a background check of $20 or less.

NRA officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The background checks plan also has the support of Republican Sen. Steve Litzow and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Democrat who has aligned himself with Republicans this year. House lawmakers will begin considering the measure Wednesday in a committee hearing.

Comments

Igor 1 year, 2 months ago

The problem with the Washington Bill is that is does not provide for the destruction of the information required of the purchaser in a private transaction after the background check has been completed. Federal law requires that this information be destroyed by the federal government after the check has been completed in the case of a purchase of a firearm from a dealer. In the case of a private purchase under the proposed bill the prospective purchaser is required to furnish the same information on a form to be developed by the Washington State Department of Licensing and then supply this form to a licensed seller or a law enforcement agency for the background check. Neither are required to destroy the form after the check has been completed. If the proposed bill were modified to provide for the destruction of private purchaser information at the local level it would preclude the possibility of a state registry of owners who acquired their firearms through a private sale, which would make is much more palatable to gun rights advocates..

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