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Gun Store Owner Wary Of Participating In Wash. Background Check Law

Austin Jenkins
Don Teague of Private Sector Arms in Olympia says he doesn't want to profit on Washington's new background check requirement.


Washington’s new background check law for person-to-person gun sales and transfers takes effect Thursday.

The law puts federally-licensed gun dealers in the role of conducting the checks. But Don Teague, the owner of Private Sector Arms, a gun store in Thurston County, said it’s not a role he’s comfortable with.

Teague said he’s in the business of arming people for personal protection. And he has one word for Washington’s new background check law: “Garbage.”

So what will Teague do if two people come into his store and ask him to conduct a background check so they can complete a person-to-person sale?

“I’m still trying to help, but I’m not trying to make money off this law,” he said.

Teague said he’ll do a background check for a $25 paperwork fee — the same fee he currently charges other federally-licensed gun dealers. And for liability reasons he won’t let the gun leave the store until the background check is approved, even if that takes several days.

Backers of the new law say they’re confident it will make Washington safer and reduce gun violence.


Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.