Gun Background Check: Process, Rules, and Updates

Washington State Capitol Olympia to illustrate Gun Background Check Process, Rules, and Updates

The gun background check process is determined by both federal and state laws. In this piece, we’ll discuss a few details regarding background checks, including some recent changes to Washington state background checks.

At our Vancouver WA gun shop, we adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the law. We want our customers to be aware of every step in the gun-buying process. We also want them to know why we do what we do when we do it. This blog piece should help spell things out clearly.

If at any point you have questions or concerns about the material presented here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Background Checks

First of all, here’s an overview of the laws regulating background checks for gun purchases.

  • Every firearm purchase is subject to a background check.
  • These checks are often instantaneous — but they can also take weeks
  • Gun buyers must be a resident of their state for at least 90 days
  • Background checks expire after 30 days. Afterward, buyers will need to go through the background check process again.

There are some additional wrinkles that you should be aware of. For example, handguns and semi-automatic rifles can take anywhere from three to 30 days to process. And as regulated by Washington’s I-1639, semi-automatic rifles require a mandatory 10-business-day wait.

Many of these changes to Washington state background check laws are due to Initiative 1639 (I-1639). Approved by voters in November 2018, it has survived a legal challenge brought on in part by the National Rifle Association. The challenge was dismissed in federal court in August 2020, but it’s now being appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

The Law

The law can change often, so please keep that in mind when you begin researching your own firearm purchases. We’re here to help you make heads or tails of these rules and regulations, so get in touch with Sporting Systems with any questions or concerns.

While our trade is in firearm sales and service and we’re not lawyers, we must keep up with background check processes and changes to that process. It’s the right thing to do for our business and for our customers.

We can also point you in the right direction when it comes to gun background checks and their relationship to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Gun sales can require federal background checks in addition to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Each business day, we open our doors to regular people just looking to purchase a firearm for themselves. They may do so for a host of reasons.

Sometimes people want to possess firearms for home safety. Maybe they have a restraining order against an acquaintance or are worried about the threat of domestic violence.

Others just want to go to the shooting range. Doesn’t matter; federal laws requiring certain steps to take place must be followed.

In any case, it’s our job to inform our customers of the law, the limits of the law, the criminal background check system, and other aspects of gun transfers and sales.

So let us know if you have any questions about federal laws or state laws requiring gun background checks, the specifics of what those laws require, or what it means to be a federally licensed firearms dealer in the United States.


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