Tacoma to require background checks at gun shows on city property

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to require criminal background checks of anyone who purchases a firearm at gun shows on property owned or managed by the city.

No one spoke out against the measure passed by the City Council.

Currently, neither federal nor state law requires people who sell firearms from their private collections at gun shows to conduct background checks on the buyers.

Now, the city of Tacoma will require background checks for all purchasers -- if the gun show is held on city-owned or -managed property.

The change came about because of a gun show held at the Tacoma Dome April 26-27.

The show included gun sales by private sellers not subject to such a check. Only a “handshake in between” was required to purchase a firearm from private sellers, prompting concern by some in Tacoma over the risk of guns being purchased.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group that favors background checks for gun buyers, applauded the City Council's vote and called for statewide action to make background checks the law across Washington.

“Today’s vote is another sign of public support in communities across our state for common-sense gun laws,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for Initiative 594, which will be on the state's November ballot and require background checks for all firearms sales.  “Background checks are the fastest and most effective way to prevent gun violence. We’re thrilled that Tacoma took this important step towards reducing the threat of guns falling into the hands of dangerous individuals.”

“As a pediatrician who has seen far too many children and teens impacted by gun violence, I am grateful that Mayor (Marilyn) Strickland and the City Council are working to ensure dangerous people don’t have easy access to firearms,” said Dr. Julian Ayer, a Tacoma doctor and trustee of the Washington chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Now that this important resolution has passed, the next step is for Washington voters to follow Tacoma’s example and pass Initiative 594 so that all gun sales, no matter where they happen, go through a background check.”