State asks for money to fight gun registry backlog

OLYMPIA -- The state's handgun tracking system is facing a serious backlog.

By law, the database must be up-to-date, but tens of thousands of handgun transfers still need to be entered into the system.

The database helps state and local law enforcement find the owners of handguns that turn up during investigations.

The Washington State Department of Licensing wants about $400,000 to hire more staff to deal with the problem.

"The sale of firearms in our state has nearly tripled since 2006 and our staffing levels have remained the same, so it created a backlog in getting that information entered into our firearms database," said spokesperson Christine Anthony.

Law enforcement officers reportedly used the system two million times in 2012. The database also includes information about people who can't legally own a gun.