NIE account
Contact NIE


Civic Minds in The Seattle Times

Program Content for October 17, 2014

Date:  Friday, October 17, 2014

E-Edition Date:  Sunday, October 12, 2014

Article Title:  Background-check denials rise for would-be handgun buyers

Section:  NW Sunday, B1


Vocabulary Review: Due Process


Initiative 591 would take away Washington State’s authority to enact background-check laws beyond the federal requirements, and would declare that guns cannot be seized by the government without due process.


Please look up the definition of due process and use in a sentence, using your own words.






Comprehension Questions


1.      An increasing number of Washingtonians who fail ______________  _____________ while trying to buy a gun have been seeking handguns, according to a decade of government data.


2.      In 2013, nearly ____ percent of the _________ background-check denials in the state resulted from people trying to buy handguns rather than long guns such as rifles or shotguns.


3.      In 2004, would-be handgun buyers made up only ____ percent of all denials, and their overall share has risen steadily ever since, according to the FBI data.


4.      When are background checks required to purchase a gun in Washington State?


5.      The future of background checks in Washington State is dominating the autumn campaign season with two competing measures. Describe Initiative 594 & 591 using your own words.


6.      How much has been spent on these campaigns?


7.      Which Initiative is receiving the most support? 


8.      Most denials each year are still related to people trying to buy ________  _______.


9.      Who performs the background checks?  What other screening do potential buyers have to go through?


10.   Most of those who failed background checks for any type of gun have done so because they had been what? Last year, ______________ people in Washington were denied a gun for that reason.



11.   Since 1998, more than 42,000 Washingtonians have failed a gun-purchase background check.  




Class Discussion Questions and Essay Prompts:







·        Does your family own a gun?  If yes, why? 

·        What is your opinion on Initiative 594 & 591?  Do you agree or disagree with them? Why or why not?


Ralph Fascitelli, board president of Seattle-based advocacy organization Washington CeaseFire, said he didn’t know why handguns would make up an increasing share of all background-check denials.  “I’d be a little bit puzzled on that one,” he said.



Allison Anderman, a staff attorney with the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, also couldn’t explain the trend.



“Our best guess is that more people are buying (and trying to buy) handguns instead of long guns for self-defense rather than hunting,” Anderman wrote in an email.


·        Do you believe more people are buying guns to protect themselves?  Why or why not?



The next-biggest group of denials in 2013 consisted of people convicted of domestic- violence misdemeanor crimes or who had restraining or protection orders against them related to domestic violence. Some of those 1,433 denials were under federal law; others were denied under a broader state law for domestic-violence crimes, according to the Washington State Patrol.  



Other people failed background checks in 2013 because they were fugitives (374), had been convicted of certain drug crimes (243), had been committed to an institution for mental illness (212), were in the U.S. illegally (44) or were dishonorably discharged from the military (six).



Since 1998, four people in Washington State have been denied a gun because they had renounced their U.S. citizenship.


·        Were you surprised by these statistics of those who were denied guns?  Is it important that people with unstable backgrounds don’t have access to firearms?  Why or why not? 




But the initiative’s opponents have argued that the language of I-594 is so strict that it would criminalize gun owners who lend firearms to one another for short periods of time, such as during a firearms-safety course or when shooting guns in a backyard.


·        Should people be “lending” their firearms out?  Why or why not? 

·        Do you think there should be policy in place to deter this situation?





What is your stance on gun ownership?  Should people have the right to own a gun?  Under what circumstances?


Do you believe background checks and other screenings should be mandatory?  Why or why not?  Who should or shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun?




Newspaper-related CBA activity:  U.S. Policy


How the United States government interacts with the world affects people across the globe.  Analyze and evaluate the causes and effects of US foreign policy on people in the United States and across the world.


·        Using The Seattle Times e-edition, find an article from this week that deals with world politics or foreign policy. 

·        What are the main points of view from someone living in that particular country?  How is that “view” similar and different than your own opinion, regarding the specific issue the article is discussing?

·        Why is it important to study and learn about foreign policy?  How does it help you understand the world we live in, using current issues and events?  



 Civic Minds in The Seattle Times is posted to the Web on Friday. Please share the NIE program with other teachers. To sign-up for the electronic edition of the newspaper please call 206/652-6290 or toll-free 1-888/775-2655.

Copyright © 2014 The Seattle Times Company



Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company
Privacy statement

Register Now for Elementary, Middle School and High School Programs!