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Controversial Group Wants Backround Checks for Private, Online Gun Sales in WA

WAGR wants more gun control laws, regulate private sales
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

We had told you last fall not to fall asleep on WAGR (Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility).

The group, initially founded by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, was behind the controversial legislative amendment last fall that was crushed in the WA state legislature after it was learned the bill would require local sheriff’s officers to conduct annual searches of the homes of registered gun owners.  The checks would be to ensure the guns were stored safely.

Once the news of the bill got out, legislators – even those sponsoring the bill – scurried away because of the firestorm of phone calls, emails and input from furious citizens.  Local sherriff’s, including Steve Keane and Richard Lathim of Benton and Franklin counties questioned the constitutionality of such moves.

WAGR is back, and claims to have enough signatures on a new gun control bill, Initiative 594, that they will be turning into the Washington state Secretary of State’s office.  They plan to do so nearly 3 months before the January deadline.

The new bill would vastly increase backround checks, including those online and at private transactions.   Many law enforcement officials question how private transactions could be monitored, such as the gifting of a gun in a family or to a friend.  The checks would be done at federally licensed arms dealers, where people already have to go through extensive checks already.

Critics say it’s just another step towards pre-registration of guns leaving the factory, before they are even sold.

A counter-measure,  Initiative 591 sponsored by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, would prohibit our state from adopting any backround checks more stringent than existing federal standards.

Once submitted, the legislature can either vote on the measure(s), take no action, or put them up for voters next November.   Judging from the firestorm that occurred last fall,  it’s a reasonable assumption the state legislature will put them up to a vote of the people.

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