Effective January 1, 2024, HB 1143 shall go into effect. The legislation imposes additional requirements for the sale and transfer of firearms, including the following provisions:
- Fingerprinting and background checks are required for all firearm sales and transfers, with some limited exceptions (RCW 9.41.113). Background checks are to be performed through the Washington State Patrol Firearms Background Check Program, a centralized stated system, rather than through local law enforcement agencies.
- A 10-day waiting period is required between the purchase and delivery of the firearm to the purchaser.
- The purchaser must provide proof of having completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the last five years.
Proponents of HB 1143 argue the law rightfully requires people to wait the prescribed “cooling off” period even if they’ve passed a more immediate background check. The intent of the legislation is aimed in part at deterring people from rushing to harm themselves or others with newly purchased weapons during periods of sudden distress or anger.
Its requirements are similar to those for a concealed weapons permit. Also, fourteen states have similar requirements and have found that they have reduced fatalities by 14%. The requirements could also interrupt suicide attempts, which are often impulsive decisions. Suicides constitute 75% of gun deaths in Washington.
Opponents say the legislation denies law-abiding citizens their Second Amendment right to acquire firearms unless they present proof of completion of official, sanctioned firearms training within the past five years, which they must complete at their own expense. Also, the 10-day waiting period is arbitrary on prospective gun owners taking possession of their firearms. They say the delay is longer or indefinite if the State fails to complete background check during that time. Finally, the Department of Licensing will also maintain a database (registry) of gun owners and their personal data, despite the agency having previously suffered a data breach affecting 650,000 citizens just last year.
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Firearm Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.