State lawmakers alter gun bill to ease privacy concerns

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 9:06 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash.  -- Washington lawmakers seeking to expand background checks for gun sales have scaled back their proposal in order to ease the concerns of weapon owners.

Under a revised bill considered on Wednesday, lawmakers say agencies that would conduct background checks would have to destroy records of the search once it's complete. Opponents of the bill had expressed concern that the transaction records would essentially provide a foundation for a registry of gun owners.

The new bill also allows private parties to bypass the background check if the buyer already has a concealed pistol license. They can also skip the background check if a request for such information goes unanswered for three days.

There was emotional testimony from victims of gun violence.

Cheryl Stumbo was shot in the stomach when a mentally ill man opened fire in the Jewish Federation of Seattle building in 2006. One of her co-workers was killed, four others were injured.

“I have scars on my body, scars from 20 surgeries that show I’m a survivor,” she said. “Enforcing and prosecuting violations would make it difficult, if not impossible, for criminals and mentally ill individuals to get guns."

An NRA lobbyist still had concerns about the bill, arguing that both law enforcement and dealers may not do the background checks and essentially freeze private sales.

“This bill is going to be ineffective and unworkable,” said Brian Judy, northwest liaison for the NRA. “99 percent of gun owners are law abiding citizens. They are the only ones who are going to go through this process."

KING 5's Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report

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