OLYMPIA – Despite divided national rhetoric on legislation related to firearms, Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) brought opposing sides together to pass significant, bipartisan legislation on firearm background checks. House Bill 2467 strengthens firearm background checks by establishing a state-level background check to replace the fragmented, partial point of contact system. A study released last year determined that a single point of contact background check system through the Washington State Patrol would improve public safety and streamline the process for legal firearm purchases.
Representative Hansen sponsored HB 2467 along with support from Republican Representative Morgan Irwin (R-Enumclaw) to solve the problems caused by the current background check system: inconsistent results in the checks (which could lead to someone slipping through the cracks and buying a firearm when they are ineligible)and delay in the legal purchase of a firearm.
“It’s rare that Democrats, Republicans, gun control advocates, and the NRA to come together and agree on legislation, which is why this bill is so important. We are strengthening background checks so we keep guns out of the hands of people who can’t legally own them, while we respect the rights of people who are legally entitled to purchase them” said Hansen.
James McMahan, from the Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, testified in support of the bill in the House and said in regards to the current, partial point of contact system: “There are different rules that apply depending on who does the background check, and the same person could get approved by the federal government but denied locally…those sorts of things not only create inequities, but a potential public safety danger.”
The Washington State Patrol, who will oversee the new single point of contact background check system, also testified in support of the bill.
The bill passed the House and the Senate by strong bipartisan majorities and is now headed to Governor Inslee to be signed into law.