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Thousands of gun buyers denied in Washington, hundreds referred to police

(MyNorthwest)

Washington state denied 3,248 applications to buy a gun between 2017 and 2018, resulting in hundreds of people referred to law enforcement.

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“We know that it only takes one person with ill intentions to make a tragedy,” writes Steven Strachan, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, in a report sent to lawmakers. “Each of these instances could have had a very different outcome.”

As a result of a law passed in 2017, HB 1501, Washington’s law enforcement agencies are now required to report how many people apply to purchase a firearm and are denied.

A report from the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs states:

From the day of implementation, July 23, 2017 to July 23, 2018, 3,248 denied applications for the purchase or transfer of a firearm have been reported to WASPC. WASPC has referred 669 reports to local law enforcement.

The report also notes that the information has helped law enforcement learn much more about “the firearm climate in Washington state.”

“We have received word … about individuals incorrectly being denied transactions,” the report states. “We believe these instances further demonstrate the need for consistency and additional training across the state as it related to background checks.”

KING 5 first reported that the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs released its report on the denied applications earlier this November. As a result of a law passed in 2017, HB 1501, Washington’s law enforcement agencies are now required to report how many people apply to purchase a firearm and are denied. WASPC now prepares an annual report tallying denied firearm sales or transfers. Some of the denials required further law enforcement intervention, such as an arrest.

According to the WASPC, there are a few reasons law enforcement would be notified about someone attempting to buy a firearm and ends up denied. Such instances include: they applied for multiple guns and were denied; the applicant has a Washington state felony conviction; the applicant is subject to a protective order; or if a Federal Firearms Licensee request police look into the applicant further.

According to the report:

  • There were 264 multiple attempts
  • 103 denials occurred when after a gun was sold or transferred; 84 were not returned
  • 50 denials were the result of a delayed denial; 44 of those guns were not returned
  • 192 applicants were also subject to a protective order
  • 255 applicants had felony convictions

In 2018, WASPC granted $62,142 to local agencies to investigate illegal attempts to obtain a firearm. A total of 123 applicants were investigated. Of those 123 individuals:

  • 10 were arrested
  • 12 were referred to prosecution and charged
  • 13 were referred to prosecution and were not charged
  • 87 cases were closed
  • 1 was unresolved

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