Politics & Government

Tacoma council to decide whether to back statewide background checks for all gun buys

The Tacoma City Council could decide Tuesday (Sept. 23) whether to endorse a statewide initiative that would require background checks for all firearm sales.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said Tuesday that she and council members Ryan Mello, Lauren Walker and Victoria Woodards will co-sponsor a City Council resolution to support Initiative 594. Strickland said she expects the council to have “an interesting discussion” on the topic.

Strickland said in a recent conference call that “I-594 is common sense legislation.”

The state requires background checks for firearm sales, unless it’s from a private sale from a personal collection. I-594 would require background checks for all firearm purchases.

If the council passes the resolution, it would become the third city in the state to do so, behind Mercer Island and Bainbridge Island, said Geoff Potter, a spokesman for the campaign supporting the initiative.

In May, the Tacoma City Council unanimously voted to require background checks for all firearm sales at city-owned or -managed venues.

The council could also declare the week of Sept. 22-26 as gun safety week. The city launched a gun safety education campaign in June, which includes information on how to safely store or surrender firearms.

Voters will decide on I-594 this fall. They will also decide on the competing Initiative 591, which forbids “any government agency” from requiring background checks more stringent than federal law and prevents seizure of firearms without due process.