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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Gun Dealers Report 1,200 Denied Purchases In First 5 Months Of New Law

Gun News Daily
/; Wikimedia -
Since July, more than 1,200 would-be gun buyers have failed background checks under Washington state's new law.

Early numbers on a new Washington state law designed to crack down on felons, domestic abusers and others who try to buy a gun show that since July, more than 1,200 would-be gun buyers have failed background checks.

Of those 1,200, 49 people made multiple attempts to purchase a firearm. And 71 of them had a court order requiring them to stay away from their victims.

Alliance for Gun Responsibility CEO Renee Hopkins said the law is working because domestic violence victims are now getting notification if their abuser tries to buy a gun.

“The information that their abuser is trying to buy a firearm could literally save their lives,” Hopkins said. “It gives them the power to be able to plan for their safety and in most situations their children’s safety as well.”

An investigation by public radio and KING 5 News last year found that prohibited gun buyers are rarely, if ever, investigated and prosecuted in Washington. So far under the new law, 152 attempts to purchase have been referred to police resulting in criminal charges in at least one case.