Washington firearm background checks plummet in 2024

Firearm background checks have plummeted in Washington by nearly 50% this year.

FOX 13 News is digging into the reason numbers are dropping and what this means for gun sales.

According to FBI data, there were 212,395 firearm background checks in the first three months of 2023. 

Numbers for the first three months of 2024 show firearm background checks have dropped by 45.78%, to just 115,168 checks.

Experts believe one of the reasons for the change is new laws.

In 2024, a new law went into effect requiring a 10-day mandatory hold before a buyer can get their gun.

"Gun owners in general are very concerned. In Washington State, their rights have been being attacked now for a number of years in a row. It seems like every year the Legislature comes up and passes another anti-gun law," said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Gottlieb says gun restrictions usually put buyers into a scramble to purchase guns before the new laws go into effect. He says that is one factor why firearm background checks are down.

This is also the first year Washington State Patrol has taken over all firearm background checks.

Officials with WSP tell FOX 13 News that, for the first time this year, gun buyers only have to fill out one background check per transaction, even if they are purchasing multiple guns. In the past, buyers had to fill out a background check for each gun they purchased.


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This year there is also a mandatory $18 fee associated with firearm background checks.