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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Lawmakers introduce bill to require background checks for all gun sales

OLYMPIA — A group of mostly Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to require background checks on all gun sales — no exceptions.

Currently, licensed firearms dealers at brick-and-mortar stores must conduct background checks, but private, unlicensed dealers at gun shows — or outside city gun buybacks — do not.

House Bill 1588 would require private dealers to request a background check from a local law-enforcement agency. Not doing so would be a felony.

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat who chairs the House committee tasked with gun policy.

Twenty-three state representatives have signed on, including Republicans Mike Hope of Lake Stevens, who is a Seattle police officer, and Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla.

Most Republicans oppose the idea, calling it an unnecessary restriction on gun owners that won’t work because bad guys who want to buy guns will do so illegally anyway.

A recent poll — funded by a group that supports gun restrictions–  found large support among state residents.

The proposal is one of several gun-related ideas lawmakers are considering to address gun violence.

Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: gun laws, Jamie Pedersen, Maureen Walsh

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