A bill that would have cracked down on illegal gun purchasers in Washington state met a sudden end Wednesday evening when it failed to make it to the floor for a Senate vote.
House Bill 1501 had sailed through the Washington House and a Senate committee, riding on bi-partisan support. But it failed to get a floor vote before a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline.
“It’s really disappointing,” Renee Hopkins, CEO for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said. “Families and communities will pay the price for (the Senate’s) inaction.”
HB 1501 targeted the nearly 4,000 people in Washington each year who attempt to purchase a firearm but fail, because they are prohibited by court order from owning a gun.
It’s against the law for prohibited buyers to attempt to purchase a gun, and lying about eligibility on a purchase form violates state and federal laws.
Reports by KING 5 and public radio’s Northwest News Network revealed that police agencies, which conduct these background checks, do not follow up on those denied purchases.
The news organizations could not find a single case in Washington that was investigated or prosecuted.
The bill would have helped police agencies find funding to pay for those follow-up investigations. It also would have notified victims of crimes like domestic violence that their abuser was out trying to buy a gun.
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