Wash. House panel approves plan for background checks on private gun sales



OLYMPIA — Lawmakers in the state House are moving ahead with a plan to expand background checks to private gun sales.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the idea Tuesday by a one-vote margin, with Republican Rep. Mike Hope being the only member of his party voting in favor of it. Hope is a Seattle police officer previously supported by the National Rifle Association who has recently drawn the group’s ire for supporting the bill.

Hope has expressed concern that criminals can avoid background checks by purchasing guns from private parties. Gun buyers are already required to undergo background checks when purchasing from federally licensed gun shops.

The measure now moves to the full House. It faces a bigger challenge in the state Senate.