guns | KUOW News and Information

guns

What happens when someone who’s not supposed to have a gun lies about their background and tries to buy one? In Washington state, the answer is not much.

FBI records show that between January and August of this year, 3,259 would-be gun buyers in Washington failed a federal background check. But police and prosecutors rarely, if ever, pursue these people.

A new white paper by the Washington state attorney general’s office finds the state’s system of conducting background checks for gun purchases to be fragmented, complex and inconsistent.

Gun rights and gun control advocates are reacting to the first prosecution under Washington’s Initiative 594, the 2014 law that requires a background check for person-to-person gun sales.

The case involves a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident named Mark Mercado who allegedly gave or sold a .22-caliber pistol to an acquaintance last November. Prosecutors said that gun was then used a day later in the murder of 17-year-old John Skyler Johnson, known as “Jay.”

In what’s believed to be the first prosecution under a 2014 voter-approved background check law, a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident has been charged with illegally transferring a .22-caliber pistol that was later used in a homicide.

A Connecticut judge has dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against the manufacturer and seller of the weapon used in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

James Balcerak was 23. He had autism and seemed to have lost hope of achieving the life he wanted.

In an argument, he made it clear he was thinking of suicide.

A Winchester Safes representative sets the lock on one of several gun safes on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Joseph Simonetti about the public health implications of safe firearm storage. His research finds that adolescents with risk factors for suicide are often easily able to access guns in their homes. Simonetti is Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

David Combs' anti-1491 effort doesn't have an office, he does media interviews in the lobby of his condo in Redmond.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Of the initiatives on the November ballot in Washington, a proposed gun regulation has raised the most money. And no one has registered to oppose the measure, but that might be about to change.

A ban on military-style weapons could come to Washington. Wednesday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he'll propose a ban during the upcoming legislative session.


When a young African-American man dies in the city of Philadelphia, more than half the time there's one main reason why, says Scott Charles.

"It's because somebody pointed a gun at him and pulled that trigger. It's not because of cancer; it's not because of car accidents; it's not because of house fires. It's because somebody pointed a trigger," he says.

AR-15 rifle with a Stag lower receiver California legal (only with fixed 10-round magazine)
Wikimedia Commons

The day after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Tami Michaels, a Seattle talk show host, took to Facebook.

The University of Texas dedicated a memorial to victims of a sniper-style attack there 50 years ago on the same day concealed-carry of handguns became legal at Texas public universities.

In an early afternoon ceremony, Gregory Fenves, the university's president, dedicated a granite monument containing the names of 17 people killed by Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old student and former Marine, who opened fire from the school's clocktower on Aug. 1, 1966. He killed people both on campus and elsewhere that day.

It's still summer and school's still out for most people, so it's understandable if you're not thinking about the flu. But we all will be soon. Your pharmacist, your doctor, your boss, maybe even your colleagues — they'll all be pushing you to get that annual flu shot, as well they should. Flu is serious business; it causes thousands of hospitalizations each year.

Bill Radke talks with Everett Herald reporter Jerry Cornfield about a new push for state lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban in Washington.

A coalition of groups and lawmakers in Washington state is calling for a statewide ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, the type of gun used in recent mass shootings in Dallas, Tex., Orlando, Fla., Roseburg, Ore., and San Bernardino, Cal.

The recent targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement on edge. Some departments are telling officers to patrol in pairs when possible, and to be extra vigilant about possible ambush.

Complicating matters is the question of how to interpret and react to the presence of a gun. With more Americans now exercising their legal right to carry firearms, police find themselves having to make rapid judgments about whether an armed citizen is a threat.

Montrell Jackson, one of three Baton Rouge police officers killed Sunday, had written about tensions he felt following the police killing of Alton Sterling earlier this month, using a Facebook post to tell his community, "Please don't let hate infect your heart."

John O'Brien

As Representative Jim McDermott prepares to retire after 28 years of service, the top three contenders for his 7th District seat in Congress are on the stump to succeed him. 


Initiative 1491 would allow courts to temporarily ban a person from possessing a gun, if that person is deemed a danger to themselves or others. It's called an Extreme Risk Protection Order, and family members or law enforcement would be able to request it from a judge.

Backers of a gun-violence prevention measure say they have turned in enough signatures to qualify the measure for Washington's ballot. 

Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole address the social consequences of systematic racism at a press conference.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s mayor and police chief held a news conference this afternoon to appeal for calm and for dialogue following the shootings of police officers in Dallas and the shootings of African-American men by police. KUOW’s Carolyn Adolph sends this report.

Oregon voters may get the chance to ban the sale of items made from certain wildlife species this November. Backers of an initiative that would do just that submitted signatures Thursday in an attempt to get their measure on the November ballot.

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

On Jan. 15, 2010, a woman named Courtney Weaver was intentionally shot in the face by her fiancé, Kenneth Fiaui.

In court nearly a year later, Weaver spoke to Fiaui directly. What follows is what she said, based on the court transcript, and his response.

Twenty-ten has been the most trying and difficult year of my life.

'Week in Review' panel Paul Guppy, Bill Radke, Erica C. Barnett and Mike McGinn.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Duvall, Carnation, North Bend, Snoqualmie and Covington all want to grow. The Puget Sound Regional Council, which oversees the growth and development of the region, says not too big and not too fast. Who gets to decide how rapidly a city grows?

Suzan DelBene talking to supporters at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Kim Malcolm speaks with Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) about why she took part in a sit-in on the House floor with other Democrats to demand a vote on a measure that would restrict the purchase of a firearm by a person on the terrorist watch list. All of Washington's Democratic Congress members were part of the protest.

The mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has led to a revival of the debate over assault weapons, but journalist Evan Osnos says the real growth in gun ownership is from small, concealed handguns.

"Something really profound has changed in the way that we use guns," Osnos tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Concealed carry, as it's known, is now legal in all 50 states."

The protest that played out Wednesday on Capitol Hill wasn't quite plebiscite by Periscope. But it came close.

Updated at 1:15 p.m.

House Democrats have ended their almost 26-hour-long sit-in to push for gun control legislation, pledging on Thursday afternoon to continue their fight once Congress returns from the July Fourth recess.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., ended the daylong protest surrounded by his Democratic colleagues. The civil rights leader proclaimed that this "is a struggle, but we're going to win this struggle."

R
Reuters

Representative Sander Levin of Michigan called it a "Selma-like moment."

Representative Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, reading a letter from the wife of a slain Boston doctor, said that after Orlando, she has cried every day.

An extraordinary sit-in on the House floor began on Wednesday morning, with Democrat after Democrat demanding that the House vote on a gun-control bill before going on recess.

Demanding action on gun control, about 30 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives are staging a sit-in.

"Lawmakers are grouped in the well of the chamber, in front of the speaker's dais and in chairs in the front row," NPR's Sue Davis reports. "Some members are literally sitting on the floor of the House."

Pages