February 13, 2013 in City

Gun bill, lawmaker draw ire of NRA

Measure will expand background checks
Mike Baker Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Wearing an AR-15 rifle, Tim Hanrahen, left, of Snohomish, Wash., gets information on the location of legislative offices from Washington State Patrol trooper Todd Israel after Hanrahen attended a gun rights rally on Friday at the Capitol in Olympia. Several hundred people gathered and spoke Friday against proposed legislation at both the state and national levels aimed at curbing gun violence.
(Full-size photo)

OLYMPIA – The National Rifle Association is increasing pressure on Washington state lawmakers who have endorsed a plan to expand gun background checks, specifically targeting a Republican lawmaker who supports the effort.

In a note mailed to its Washington members, the NRA called for “URGENT” action to contact GOP Rep. Mike Hope, who works as a Seattle police officer and previously had the NRA’s support.

The group said Hope’s vote could determine the fate of a “sweeping gun control measure.”

Hope supports the background check plan, saying Tuesday it is a reasonable way to help keep guns away from violent criminals and the mentally ill. Hope said he’s invited the NRA to help shape the bill and will propose changes to make it better.

“What frustrates me is that they’re not really looking at that stuff,” Hope said of the NRA. “They’re just looking at a unilateral ‘no’ to everything, and they’re not looking for a solution.”

Gun buyers already have to undergo a background check if they purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer. The bill supported by Hope and many Democrats would expand that to sales between private parties, with Hope saying criminals purchase guns privately to avoid having to prove that they are legally allowed to own one.

House lawmakers will begin considering the measure today in a committee hearing.

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