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Tacoma City Council Unanimously Approves Resolution to Require Background Checks on Private Sales at Gun Shows Held at Tacoma Dome and on City-Owned Property


Today the Tacoma City Council, along with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, passed Resolution 38901 to require background checks on all gun sales—including sales conducted by private sellers—at gun shows held at the Tacoma Dome and on city-owned property. In the wake of the resolution’s unanimous passage, representatives of Everytown for Gun Safety lauded the victory as another indication of the changing tide in favor of sensible gun laws in America, and called for the passage of Initiative 594. I-594 would help keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illnesses by requiring all Washington citizens to undergo a background check when purchasing a gun.

Today’s victory in Tacoma comes after Washington—along with Minnesota and Wisconsin— passed legislation this year to protect women and children by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, defeating decade-long resistance from the National Rifle Association. Research shows that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.  The trifecta of new laws in these states—as well as a new law in New Hampshire to create a crime of domestic violence— will help protect women and families by keeping guns out of dangerous hands. Today’s victory is similar to a win earlier this year in Travis County, TX, where the county commission voted to block gun shows that don’t require background checks from being held in public buildings.

“Recent statewide victories in Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin– and now today on the local level in Tacoma—show how Americans across the country are coming together to fix our country’s broken gun laws, and it’s just the beginning,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.  “In November, Washington voters will have another chance to stand up for public safety by supporting Initiative 594, which will prevent criminals and other dangerous people from getting guns. Whether it’s on the ballot, in city halls or in state legislatures, Americans aren’t waiting for Washington any longer; the fight for common-sense reforms that respect the Second Amendment and protect people is alive and well.”

Passage of the Tacoma City Council resolution comes days after a gun show—which included sales by private sellers not subject to background checks—was held at the Tacoma Dome in late April. While current law requires background checks be performed by licensed dealers, unlicensed sellers at gun shows and through Internet sites sell millions of guns every year without a background check—including sales at the recent gun show held at the Tacoma Dome. Today’s passage will prevent dangerous people from buying guns at future gun shows at the Tacoma Dome and at other public venues.

“Passing this common-sense resolution is a step toward keeping Tacoma families safer by making sure all gun sales at the Tacoma Dome and at other public buildings undergo a background check,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “The next step is making sure Washington voters make their voices heard by voting to pass Initiative 594 in November, which will prevent dangerous people from getting guns not just here in Tacoma, but across the state.”

“We commend Mayor Strickland and the Tacoma City Council for their thoughtful attention to this important public safety issue, and for standing up for the rights and safety of all citizens of Tacoma,” said Meredith Browand, Tacoma Area Ambassador for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Background checks are the single most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. This straightforward requirement helps guarantee responsible gun sales and helps save lives—and I urge parents across Washington to support Initiative 594 in November, which will level the playing field and make sure all citizens pass a quick background check before purchasing a gun.”

The news in Tacoma today comes on the heels of the recent announcement of Everytown for Gun Safety and the launch of the Gun Sense Voter campaign to mobilize one million gun safety voters in November and beyond.  Just last week, Everytown helped defeat two dangerous gun bills in Arizona that were vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.