It is a federal crime (felony) to lie on a background check application when purchasing a gun from a a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), but the law is rarely enforced because federal agencies like the ATF lack the necessary manpower.
The state of Washington recently remedied this problem by enacting an exciting new law. One provision of the law requires FFLs to contact the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs whenever a prohibited purchaser fails a background check. This allows the association to notify local police, who can then send officers out to arrest the applicant. Info about these failed checks is also sent to the Washington State Patrol so they can incorporate it into databases that are used by police officers in the field.
Another provision in the law allows victims of domestic abuse to be notified when an individual they have an active restraining order against attempts to buy a gun.
In just the first five months of the law being in effect, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs reports 1,231 denied applications for gun purchases. 152 of these cases were referred to local law enforcement for further investigation. 49 of these prohibited purchasers made multiple attempts to buy a firearm. 71 were the subject of active restraining orders.
Please contact one or more of your state legislators and give them the following message:
Dear Rep./Sen., please see the attached article for information on an exciting new law, HB 1501, that is being implemented in the state of Washington. Under the law, gun dealers are required to notify law enforcement when a prohibited purchaser fails a background check in their store. If necessary, local police officers can then be dispatched to make an arrest. This information is also shared with the state patrol agency so it can be incorporated into databases searchable by officers in the field. Equally important, the law allows domestic violence victims to be notified when the individual who is the subject of their active restraining order attempts to buy a gun. This bipartisan law was so non-controversial that even the NRA supported it! I am contacting you today to request that you introduce legislation similar to HB 1501 in our state. If such legislation has already been introduced, then I request that you co-sponsor it and persuade your colleagues to do so as well. There is no excuse for our state not having such a law on the books. It is already preventing violence and saving lives in Washington.
If you don’t know who your state legislators are, or need their contact info, click here:
If you live in Washington, then ask your state legislators how they voted on HB 1501. If they voted for it, thank them. If not, spank them!
Once you have contacted one or more of your state legislators, click the orange banner below to report taking action!
[Congratulations to the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and other groups that helped to enact HB 1501 into law!]