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Victims of domestic violence testified in favor of a bill to require notification to police and victims when a felon, fugitive or other prohibited gun buyer tries to buy a gun and fails a background check.

Washington House Passes Crackdown On Prohibited Gun Buyers

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers has passed the Washington state House. Lawmakers voted 84 to 13 vote Friday to require gun dealers to alert the State Patrol when someone fails a background check to buy a gun.

Gun dealers would have two days to let the State Patrol know of a blocked gun purchase. The Patrol would then enter the name of that person into a database accessible to officers in the field.

The measure also calls for an alert system for victims of domestic violence who have a protection order against their abuser.

Republican Dave Hayes who works as a sheriff’s sergeant co-sponsored the bill.

“Those victims now have a resource to know when their offender has tried to go and purchase a gun illegally,” he said.

That alert system is subject to funding. So is a requirement that the State Patrol actively investigate blocked gun buyers.

The measure would also create a system for someone to appeal if they believe they’ve been mistakenly blocked from buying a gun.

It’s a crime for convicted felons, domestic abusers, fugitives and others to try to buy a gun, yet our ongoing investigation with KING 5 News in Seattle has found there’s rarely if ever any follow up investigation. Each year some 4,000 people try to buy a gun in Washington and are blocked by a background check.

The bill now goes to the Washington Senate for consideration.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."