Republican proposal would outlaw state database on gun transfers

Initiative 1639 passed last year widened scope of background checks

  • Saturday, January 26, 2019 1:30am
  • News

By Emma Scher

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

The public this week weighed in on a proposed law that would prohibit the state from accumulating pistol transfer applications containing personal information.

House Bill 1024 would prohibit the state Department of Licensing from storing records related to pistol sales and ownership transfers in its online database.

Under the bill, Firearms dealers would no longer send applications to the state licensing department and law enforcement agencies would no longer have access to that agency’s database.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, said the proposed law addresses both privacy rights and Second Amendment protections. He said he thinks both issues are of equal importance.

“The problem that we’ve got is that state agencies never delete anything and they aggregate it over years — personal information that most people don’t want them to have.” Walsh said.

“It makes them targets for hackers and agencies.”

Last year, the Department of Licensing faced criticism after The Seattle Times reported agency officials provided personal information to immigration officials.

Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee Chairwoman, said she was not supportive of the bill, and that although Democrats haven’t discussed their thoughts on the bill she doesn’t anticipate it to generate support.

“There’s certainly privacy issues around it, but I think the fundamental issue has to do with public protection, and the state having said not once but twice that they want to background-check system to work as robustly as possible,” Jinkins said.

Processing pistol transfer applications is a manual process and there are currently a half-million applications backlogged. If passed, the Department of Licensing expects to save $451,000 in expenditures related to processing the applications, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Currently, individuals buying or selling pistols are required by law to fill out a transfer application and submit it to the state licensing agency.

Initiative 1639, a ballot measure concerning firearms that was approved by voters in November, established similar requirements for the sales or transfers of semiautomatic assault rifle applications.

Stephen Paolini, campaign manager for I-1639, said he thinks that there is a clear interpretation of what voters want from policymakers, and that this bill would be a step backwards.

Initiative 1639, “really is a strong indicator that voters want their representatives to continue moving forward on the background check system,” Paolini said.

“To then say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna remove that or take a step backwards’ is pretty antithetical.”

More in News

Fundraiser to help bring monument to Forks VFW

Village Concepts of Port Angeles/Park View Villas, hosts a pancake breakfast fundraiser… Continue reading

Public comment extended for Olympic Hot Springs Road environmental assessment

The public comment period for the preliminary alternatives for the upcoming Olympic… Continue reading

A chimney fire started late Tuesday afternoon on the 1800 block of West Washington Street in a log home. Fire officials with Clallam County Fire District 3 say the fire started on accident near the roof and chimney. Photo courtesy of Clallam County Fire District 3
Fire District 3 stops chimney fire Tuesday night

Firefighters helped prevent a chimney fire from spreading in a Sequim log… Continue reading

Senate passes bill to remove the death penalty

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau The Senate passed a bill… Continue reading

CORRECTED: Lawmakers propose new watercraft restrictions to save southern resident orcas

Bill would establish a 7-knot speed limit for vessels a half-mile from southern resident orcas.

Sequim Public Works begins limited work on clearing sidewalks

The City of Sequim Public Works crew will begin to clear sidewalks… Continue reading

House members propose task force on missing and murdered indigenous women

A recent study reports Seattle is the city with most cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Lawmakers seek to improve sexual health education in Washington state

By Madeline Coats WNPA Olympia News Bureau A proposed bill would require… Continue reading

Most Read