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Changes to firearm background checks in Washington to be studied

House Bill 1949 directs a state office to study the feasibility of changing Washington's background check system.

Editor's note: The above video is from a previous report on Washington State's massive backlog of firearms records.

A study of Washington state's firearm background check system is what Rep. Drew Hansen says is the first step to further strengthening it. 

House Bill 1949

RELATED: State's backlog of gun records may go from bad to worse

Hansen says the current system is "fragmented." 

Background checks aren't all done in the same way depending on the type of firearm being purchased. A background check for a long gun may differ than one for a handgun. 

Recent changes will make the background check system more complicated or create the need for a more streamlined system, the bill's authors argue. That includes the approval of Initiative 1639, which takes effect in July. Along with raising the purchase age of semi-automatic rifles and creating new secure storage standards, the initiative created enhanced background check requirements. 

Hansen says law enforcement will end up doing more work related to background checks than they used to, stretching their resources. 

Additionally, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is no longer doing same-day courtesy checks, making a new system "more important than ever," the bill's authors note. 

"There is consensus that the state is to the point that we need to think about establishing a single point of contact," the bill reads.  

A final report on a new system must be submitted to the governor by Dec. 1. 


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