New Washington State Background Check Failure Reporting Law Raises Questions

By David Codrea

Birds of a feather: Inslee will be happy to take every iincremental step toward the end game he can get. (Jay Inslee/Facebook)
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -( “Felons and other people who have lost the right to own a firearm will be reported to law enforcement if they try to buy a gun in Washington,” The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday. “A bill signed Wednesday requires gun dealers to report anyone who fails a background check to local law enforcement, who can then seek prosecutions. Victims of domestic violence can ask to be notified if their abuser fails a check.”

So much for Michael Bloomberg’s I-594 living up to its promises. Not that anyone expected it to have any effect whatsoever on predators. What it did do, aside from forcing “law-abiding” gun owners to give up private transfers, was create and put a new class of “criminal” at risk for life-destroying consequences —the previously “law-abiding” who chose “I will not comply” civil disobedience over submission to new Intolerable Acts.

This new reporting law, Substitute House Bill 1501 also raises some questions I don’t see being addressed in “mainstream media” accounts.

For instance, in Haynes v. U.S., the Supreme Court ruled a felon could not be required to register a gun because that would violate the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Is requiring a person to submit to the background check and then prosecuting him if he fails equivalent? Especially if he doesn’t realize he’s “prohibited”? (Hey, it’s happened, and Neil Gorsuch said knowledge was necessary.)

And what about “false positives”? Per economist and author John Lott:

“The problem is that at least 95% of these initial denials are false positives and that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

An undeniable truth (well, the antis can deny it, but they’d be wrong) is that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. As far as released felons are concerned, if they’re still truly dangerous, Robert J. Kukla made a brilliant observation in his classic “Gun Control,” equating their release with opening the cage of a man-eating tiger and expecting a different result.  As for those determined to stalk and attack a former partner, we’ve seen time and again how “restraining orders” aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Of most concern: Citizens who pose no danger but are nonetheless “prohibited,” such as victims (and yes, I use that word intentionally) of ridiculous Lautenberg hysteria over pocket-tearers and key throwers,  the abuse of restraining orders, and the afore-mentioned “I will not comply” activists whose only “crime” would be defying disarmament edicts. And that’s personal, because there but for the grace of God go I.

This is all ground we’ve covered before though, and while we may understand these realities, don’t expect them to persuade those bent on citizen disarmament, who either know they’re lying and impose it anyway, or are just useful idiots. Still there’s one more question I’d like to ask, based on a notation buried in the Spokesman-Review report:

“Work on the bill represented coordination among the National Rifle Association, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, law enforcement organizations and victim’s rights groups.”

Noting NRA’s penchant for the “law and order/enforce existing gun laws” mantra, what about this reporting bill did they craft and/or signal a green light for, thus ensuring no repercussions for Republican support in the legislature?

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Jim Macklin

The NRA has testified on almost every gun law, often in total opposition. They have also failed to stop all bad legislation.
But the NRA has been successful in keeping cenrtfire rifle ammunition legal when the bullet ban bill would have banned all ammunition that could penetrate a handgun rated vest.
If the NRA had 100 million members it might be more effective.

Carlos Perdue

False. The NRA testified for “gun free” school zones, gun grabber Carolyn McCarthy’s veterans disarmament law, and many other gun controls.

Larry Brickey

Actually Washington law has stopped a number of bad guys from purchasing guns legally. As for other means, well, no law will stop that. I favor parts of this new law IF there is sufficient legal protections for ALLconcerned.


can you cite these cases? I’ve only heard of one prosecution of the Bloomburg Law, the “unuversal background check” nonsense. I’ve learned of a few cases where a prohibited person was found in possession of a firearm unlawfully, then prosecuted for that in addition to the other crimes. But I’ve never heard of the laws in Washington actually preventing ANY prohibited person from getting a gun. Fed background checks do stop a number of purchases, but most of those are later reviewed and the error listing the person corrected. I’ve not heard of one case in Washington where some Washington… Read more »

Larry Brickey

I do not have those newspapers on hand. One was in Spokane shortly after the law went into effect. Not a prosecution but a denial.


Inslee created the executive order turning Washington into a sanctuary state. Typical politician double standards. How about creating sanctuary gun shops and FFLs?

Wild Bill

It is all part and parcel of the liberal/progressive/socialist war on a way of life that works and goes back to the time of the Pilgrims.


I would really like to see the DOJ…….CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION go after ALL these ‘PHONEY’ GUN LAWS; they do NOTHING to fight crime and only ‘infringe’ or the rights of the law abiding; I would bet the SCOTUS would find MOST if not ALL of them UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

How about the NRA getting behind that idea?? Hmmm

Wild Bill

@Bigal, Yeah baby, you are right on, substantive due process! The state statutes have an ulterior motive. I think we need to replace at least one more S.Ct. liberal though.

Wild Bill

oldvet, She celebrates “Platoon Sargent’s Day” in lieu of Mothers’ Day!

Wild Bill

@Oldvet, No, She was an E7, ran the platoon, and kept the new LTs squared away. She was in the Green Zone during the 2008 mortar attacks. Got a bronze star.

Wild Bill

@Oldvet, Oh, well…here at home she is the Speaker of the House! I think that she is pretty happy with that.

Carlos Perdue

“Substantive due process” is a subversive, judicial oligarch, legal priesthood, authority worshiper POV. The only “due process” for removal of liberty and imposition of de facto criminal penalties (e.g., loss of RKBA) that is worthy of being called American, is the right to fair trial by jury as intended by the framers.

Wild Bill

@AJ P, Substantive Due Process is the concept of ulterior motive in a statute passed by a legislature. For example: A state passes a statute banning inexpensive pistols claiming that the state has an interest in the safety of its citizens, but really the statute is to keep pistols out of the hands of less wealthy people, then that ulterior motive would be a violation of substantive due process.


So, what’s new about the NRA? They stabbed us in the back when helped push the Nazi Weapons Act on us in 1968.

Jeremy Smith

I do not feel that ANY human being has the right to strip another human being of their right to self protection. If, a human being breaks the law, goes to jail/prison, and is returned to society, their rights should also be restored. They should be allowed to possess the very tools of ANY would be attacker…..including the government. If, they can’t be trusted with a firearm, they shouldn’t be out. The word on a paper surely will never stop them. We never should’ve allowed this, ignorant, feel good, legislation to ever be passed. Our forefathers faught over far lesser.… Read more »

Carlos Perdue

Well said.

Webfoot Logger

Restraining orders have a use: as a checkoff to prove unequivocally that the victim (target of the stalker’s obsession) has tried everything to keep the stalker away.

Of course, if they actually keep the stalker away (stranger things have happened) we wouldn’t hear about that case, only about the failures.


More and more divorce lawyers these days simlly write up a restraining order along with all the other paper garbage and the initiator simply signs it as one more in the stack of paperwork. If the “respondent” does not contest it (they often don’t realise what it is/means) it goes into force…. and the respondent has lost his right to arms with no real due process. A goodly number of these orders are groundless, issued as standard boilerplate.

Carlos Perdue

That doesn’t make it constitutional to use an RO to circumvent the right to jury trial before criminal penalties are imposed (loss of liberty). It’s unconstitutional to take away second amendment rights (effectively a criminal penalty) without fair trial by jury as envisioned by the Framers.

As tionico points out, it’s a subversive, cuck, “family law”, judicial oligarch POV. Which is why the NRA, Gottlube and the legal priesthood are all for it.

Clark Kent

This is a ‘feel good’ law that won’t be enforced; just as I594 is not enforced. No use crying about a meaningless law passed for show.

Carlos Perdue

How do you know it will NEVER be enforced, Cuck Kent?