LYNDEN, Wash. (AP) — A small museum in northwestern Washington says it won't be removing all of the weapons from its World War II exhibit, after all.
The Lynden Pioneer Museum had announced that because of concerns about the state's new law requiring background checks for gun transfers, it was returning the 11 rifles it had on loan to their owners before the law takes effect next month.
Director Troy Luginbill said he was worried that the nonprofit museum would otherwise have to pay for background checks before it returned the weapons.
But The Bellingham Herald reports (http://is.gd/pPFwN9 ) that after learning of the issue, the owners of a pawn shop in Bonney Lake offered to do any paperwork required to return the weapons.
"We're just one of the little guys, helping another little guy," said Melissa Denny, of Pistol Annie's Jewelry and Pawn. "I don't want them to lose their firearms."
A few of the owners told Luginbill that they don't want to undergo background checks to get their weapons back, so Luginbill is returning those guns by Dec. 3. But he said the museum should be able to keep at least six of them on display. Luginbill is giving the owners until Monday to decide whether they want their guns to remain in the exhibit, called "Over the Beach: The WWII Pacific Theater."
The law, passed by voters this month as Initiative 594, was intended to close a loophole in the state's background-check system. It requires background checks on all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts, with exceptions for transfers between family members.
The law also exempts antiques, but the museum's rifles are too new to qualify. The definition includes only weapons produced before 1898.
Information from: The Bellingham Herald, http://www.bellinghamherald.com