Washington has adopted another good bipartisan gun law. Next up: safe storage laws and suicide prevention.

Share story

WASHINGTON has taken another step toward common-sense gun regulations, with the governor signing a new law that requires police be alerted when someone fails a background check.

The law, which takes effect in July, would also require notification of victims when a felon, domestic abuser, stalker or other ineligible people try to buy a gun. This is a big improvement in gun safety, without impinging on the rights of lawful gun owners.

The measure builds on previous gun-law improvements, including expansion of background checks to include private and gun-show sales.

Background checks screen gun buyers to make sure they aren’t fugitives, felons, in the country illegally or subject to a protection order that includes gun restrictions. Until the new law was passed, there was no requirement for follow-up when someone tries to buy a gun illegally.

The bipartisan measure has another smart provision requiring the creation of a statewide notification system so that those who have court-ordered protection orders will automatically be notified if the person they are being protected against tries to buy a gun.

Laws like this one show the possibility of improving gun safety without taking away the rights of those who lawfully own firearms and use them responsibly.

Other reasonable proposals that have yet to get legislative approval include mandating safe gun storage and other ways to decrease the likelihood of guns getting into the hands of children or people who are suicidal.