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Democrats in Olympia seek to require new regulations for gun stores

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(The Center Square) – Gun store operators in Washington say new legislation moving ahead in Olympia concerning security protocols would put many of them out of business.

Dan Mitchell Sporting Systems in Vancouver told the Lars Larson Show that the bill would run 99% of Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) operators out of the state.

Among the requirements in the bill would be mandating all firearms to be secured in a locked fireproof safe or vault on the dealers’ premises outside of business hours.

In addition, the dealers would be required to monitor by digital video surveillance inside and outside the premises 24 hours a day, and those recordings would have to be maintained for a minimum of six years.

“There are a lot of problems with this bill,” said Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, in an interview with The Center Square.

“The requirements that it puts on gun shops would really bankrupt smaller operators,” he said.

He continued, “The stereotype that the makers of this bill have is that every gun shop is Cabela’s or some big corporate operator, but most gun shops are individually owned small operations, and the requirements in this bill are totally one size fits all.”

Walsh added, “The most back-breaking part of it is the amount of video that’s required to be taken and then archived for every element of the shop at every camera angle for six years, which would be a major expense and doesn’t do anything to add to the security of the gun shop.” He added, “It’s really designed to drive these gun shops out of Washington.”

Asked about the legislation, Rep Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, said, “It’s pretty burdensome to lose a family member to gun violence.”

He continued, “We know a small number of gun dealers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of guns used in crimes and I think it’s appropriate to try and set some basic standards to limit the flow of guns from those small number of less-responsible dealers into the hands of criminals.”

In a follow-up question from The Center Square concerning the assertion that most guns used in the commission of crimes are not legally purchased from gun shops, Fitzgibbon responded. “They originate from a small percentage of less responsible gun dealers which is why it’s appropriate for gun dealers to be trained, for example how to recognize a straw purchaser, how to recognize someone in a behavioral health crisis and to lock up guns at night.”

He concluded, “I think those are appropriate protections to take to reduce gun deaths in our state.”

The measure has passed out of committee with some minor changes but has not yet passed out of the full House chamber.

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