Rep. Brendan Williams, (D-Olympia) and Maralyn Chase (D-Olympia) have introduced HB 2477 “Imposing liability for the criminal use of firearms sold at gun shows or events”.
The bill reads, in part,
“A person who sells, delivers, or otherwise transfers, at a gun show or event, a firearm to any person whom a criminal background check in accordance with RCW 9.41.090 and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 921 et seq. would have revealed was ineligible under RCW 9.41.040 to possess a firearm, is strictly liable for damages for the injury or death of another person that results from the criminal use of that firearm by any person.”
Should this bill become law, anyone selling a gun to someone at a gun show (or in the parking lot, street, or anywhere the sponsor “knows or should reasonably know will be used for parking for the gun show or event” without doing a criminal background check would be responsible for any of the misuse of the gun forever. There is no provision for what happens to the gun once the purchase has been made. The seller is on the hook for the life of the gun.
How much of a problem is the sale of guns of gun at gun shows and the criminal use of guns?
- A 2002 Bureau of Justice Statistics report found that 0.7% of criminals bought guns at gun shows, while 39.2% bought them from illegal street dealers.
- The same study found that less than 1% of “crime guns” were purchased at gun shows.
- An August, 2006 FBI study found that “In contrast to media myth, none of the firearms in the study were obtained from gun shows.”
What are private sales at gun shows actually like? The biggest sponsor of gun shows in Washington is the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC). To become a member of the WAC, applicants must either have a criminal background check done or must have a current Washington Concealed Pistol License, be a Federal Firearms Dealer, or be with Law Enforcement. A criminal background check is required to have current pistol, firearms dealer or be with law enforcement.
Only WAC members may make a private purchase or sale at the shows. In essence, a background check has already been done.
This is another proposed law that will do nothing to decrease crime. It will, however, potentially make a criminal out of someone because of the actions of another person not even involved in the sale.
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