Universal background checks for all gun purchases would help keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. Legislators must do what they can to help protect the public, and House Bill 1588 is a start.
Times reporter Brian M. Rosenthal explained the erosion of support for the measure. Gun-rights activists would apparently support the legislation if lawmakers would barter away a database of gun owners that is a heavily used tool by law enforcement. The database helps police track the last buyer of weapons found at crime scenes.
State law now requires background checks for sales by licensed dealers, but not for private purchases at gun shows or garage sales or wherever.
Universal background checks would help keep guns away from people who should not have them. A new Elway Poll of registered voters certainly affirms that sentiment. The poll found support at 79 percent for universal background checks in Washington, and 81 percent in Oregon.
State Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, has provided lawmakers with opportunity to protect innocent lives. Take this step, and do what can be done.