Of the 36 Washington State law enforcement officers murdered between 1980 and 2013, 28 were killed with firearms that were not their own. And of those gun murders, at least 17 -- 61 percent -- were committed by individuals who were prohibited from possessing firearms.
However, there are solutions that we know are effective and save lives. Background checks are the single most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people -- and law enforcement officers in states that require background checks for all gun sales are 39 percent less likely to be killed with guns.
Police are at the front lines of gun violence, and while no laws can completely ensure their safety, stronger gun laws can prevent guns from falling into the hands of dangerous people. The loopholes in Washington State's current laws make it too easy for dangerous people who are prohibited from possessing guns to dodge a background check and buy a gun from an unlicensed seller. Expanding background checks to cover all gun sales will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, save cops' lives, and make all of our communities safer.
Initiative 594: Closing the Background Check Loophole in Washington State
In November, Washington State voters will have a chance to close the loopholes that allow guns to end up in criminal hands by voting YES on I-594. I-594 would apply the currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions. Under I-594, everyone in Washington would be required to pass the same background check regardless of where they buy a gun and from whom they buy it.