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People who fail background checks for guns to be reported to police


OLYMPIA – Felons and other people who have lost the right to own a firearm will be reported to law enforcement if they try to buy a gun in Washington.

A bill signed Wednesday requires gun dealers to report anyone who fails a background check to local law enforcement, who can then seek prosecutions. Victims of domestic violence can ask to be notified if their abuser fails a check.

The law, which goes into effect this summer, closes a loophole in state gun laws, Gov. Jay Inslee and supporters said.

Background checks determine if a would-be purchaser has a criminal record, court orders or mental health conditions that would preclude them from owning a firearm.

Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, the bill’s sponsor, said he had asked about the consequences of failing a background check. The answer was none.

About 3,000 people in Washington fail background checks each year, Hansen said, with about half thought to be purchase attempts by criminals or fugitives. The new law requires a licensed dealer to report any background check failure to local law enforcement within five days. The person who fails the check can be referred to local prosecutors for charges, although the percentage of referrals that will actually result in prosecutions isn’t known, he said. FULL ARTICLE

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