Thank you for your coverage of the efforts of local citizens who support Initiative 594, which calls for expanding criminal background checks for all gun sales. Currently, would-be buyers here must submit to a background check only if they are purchasing from a licensed dealer, such as Cabela’s, Fred Meyer or Big 5. Criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill may circumvent this process by purchasing guns online, at gun shows, or from private sellers, no questions asked. Some 40 percent of gun transfers take place this way. In 2012, that amounted to 6.6 million guns. I-594 would close this loophole by requiring all buyers to pass the same background check that is currently required in stores.
Certainly, universal background checks will not stop all gun violence, but they will help. Data from the FBI in 2010 showed that in states that require background checks for private handgun sales, 38 percent fewer women were shot to death by their intimate partners than in states that do not require them; 2010 CDC statistics showed 49 percent fewer firearm suicides in background check states than in those without.
If you believe as I do, that we can make our communities safer by enacting common sense, non-partisan solutions to stem the tide of senseless gun violence, please support Initiative 594. To learn more about ways you can help, you may visit www.wagunresponsibility.org and www.momsdemandaction.org.