Gun Background Checks PDF Print E-mail

The Catholic Bishops of Washington State released a statement (English, Spanish) voicing their support of Initiative 594, which would require background checks on the sale or transfer of all firearms.  State and federal laws presently requires gun dealers to have licenses and, in most cases, conduct background checks on gun buyers. Initiative 594 would require background checks on the sale or transfer of all firearms and adds background checks for online sales and sales at gun shows.

“In addition to this initiative measure, we also urge support by public and elected officials for policy initiatives to improve access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence,” the statement said.

The bishops said the prevalence of mass shootings “reflect a devaluing of human life in our nation” and that as pastoral leaders they have a particular responsibility to participate in efforts that reduce violence.

As part of those efforts the bishops laid out principles for reducing gun violence including measures that make guns safer, place curbs on easy access to deadly weapons such as assault rifles as well as “a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime.”

Initiative 594 is an initiative to the legislature, which may be approved by state lawmakers or sent to voters as written. Legislators could also modify the initiative and send it and the original text of the measure to the ballot.