Emphasis mine.I expect several more extreme gun control bills to be offered during the session, but at this point HB 1588 is the most dangerous bill under consideration. Using classic bait & switch tactics (just as at the federal level), HB 1588 nominally requires background checks -- only -- of any firearm transferred in Washington state. It also allows up to a $20 "fee" (tax?) for such background check. What this really is is a firearm registration bill in disguise. Two methods of background check are offered: processing by a federally-licensed firearms dealer (FFL) or visit your local police or sheriff's station and have them run a background check. For an FFL to conduct a NICS background check on a transfer, he or she must first log the firearm into the business's "bound book." Then the buyer must fill out a Form 4473 before the call. Between the bound book and the 4473, a permanent record of the firearm and the buyer is created, subject to ATF inspection upon demand.(If the buyer fails the background check, the FFL CANNOT return your firearm to you until after another NICS check is conducted -- on you, with suitable fee.)
The second method is to ask your local police to do the check for you. The bill mandates a form similar to the current state "white" form used on all handgun transfers, complete with description of the buyer and the firearm. Two problems here: the big one is that there is no prohibition on law enforcement, or the Department of Licensing, from keeping the records, either the form itself or transferred to a computer data base. We call that "registration," as in the State Pistol Registry. The second problem here is that under federal law, local agencies do not have legal access to NICS for simple transfers.
Let there be no doubt in your mind, HB 1588, and similar bills to be offered at the federal level, are after one thing only: gun registration. If they want to debate registration, by all means do so. But call it what it is. Don't try to sell it under a false flag, and one that is likely to gain widespread support even among gun owners. There ARE ways to conduct background checks WITHOUT the record-keeping. We showed them that in Olympia twice in the past decade. They rejected it, and admitted that what they wanted was the "audit trail" -- the paperwork.
Secondly, David Whitewolf offers an example of just this going on in California in his post Here we Go | Random Nuclear Strikes. A "pilot program" sent letters to purchasers who registered recorded private sales in "crime-ridden" neighborhoods. Quoting a report on the program:
The letter campaign has been regarded as successful for two reasons. First…the number of individuals who “cancelled” the gun purchase, or did not take possession of the gun after receiving the letter, substantially increased….This program was supposed to reduce "straw sales"; seems to me, if the sale is being recorded, it ain't a straw sale...