Letters to the Editor

Protect law enforcement by voting for Initiative 594

As a teacher, I am required to have a background check to work with children. This is common-sense and prevents dangerous people from working in our schools. It’s just as common-sense to ensure dangerous people can’t buy guns without a background check. But the loophole in our state background check law allows them to do that by buying a gun at a gun show or from a seller online.

That’s why I’m voting “yes” on Initiative 594 this November to close the background check loophole. Currently in Washington, handguns sold by one of the more than 1,100 federally licensed dealers are subject to federal background checks. This prevents felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill from buying guns. But these same individuals can buy a gun at a gun show or from an unlicensed seller online without a check.

Last week, a new analysis of FBI data revealed that 61 percent of Washington law enforcement officers shot to death over a 30-year span were murdered by prohibited purchasers. As voters, we have the responsibility to do everything we can to protect the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us.

We know closing the loophole protects law enforcement officers. In the 16 states with background checks on all handgun sales, there are 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers murdered with handguns. These aren’t just statistics—these are lives we can save.

Susan Bakke