How gun Initiatives I-594, I-591 will affect Washington State

CLARKSTON, WA - On Tuesday, Washington State voters approved Initiative-594 which requires background checks for all gun sales in the state.

They then denied I-591, also changing the gun laws. Carol Zinke clears up what the new law means.

The current law in Washington states that anyone buying a gun from a licensed dealer... Whether that's at a store, gun show, or online.... has to go through a background check. That check screens the buyer to make sure they aren't a felon, fugitive, or living in the county illegally. Private sales and transfers don't currently require a background check under state or federal law, however, under state law, private sellers aren't allowed to sell a firearm to someone they have reasonable cause to believe cannot posses a gun.

Initiative 594 would require even private sellers to conduct background checks. Sid Ulery is a licensed firearm dealer in Clarkston.

"As far as the sales go, it's naturally going to have the hype of, 'oh my goodness, oh my goodness, I don't want to go to jail if I do something wrong,' said Ulery. "But, in all reality, it's doing exactly what the dealer already had to do, and already set up and doing at this stage of the game anyway."

More than 346,000 firearm background checks were processed in the state between January and September of this year. With I-594 passed, there could be as many as 13,000 additional background checks, although that number is hard to predict, since the size of the private market in the state is hard to predict.

"As dealers we can't sell guns privately," said Ulery. "So, the ones who're selling them, well, everything has consequences."

I-594 is passing with 60-percent voter support right now, and Initiative 591 is receiving a majority no-vote of 55-percent.

The expanded background checks take effect when the election is certified next month.
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