O’Ban to governor: New policy preventing social security numbers being provided to law enforcement undermines public safety

OLYMPIAIn a letter sent Wednesday, Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, called on the governor to ask the Washington State Department of Licensing to rescind its new policy of not providing social security numbers to a database for verifying information to do background checks for gun purchases and to identify criminal suspects.

“It’s somewhat ironic, after a session in which the governor advocated for increased background checks on gun purchases, that we see this new policy undermining that focus on public safety,” said O’Ban.

The policy was announced in a recent email from the State Patrol, possibly as part of an ongoing effort by officials to make it more difficult for state and local law enforcement to comply with federal immigration law.

The email was sent after the 2018 legislative session concluded when a change in policy of this nature should have been considered by the legislature.

“This issue should have been the subject of legislation, which would have allowed elected representatives to provide policy direction, and should have at least involved the law enforcement agencies that will be most impacted,” said O’Ban. “The timing of this policy announcement appears to circumvent the legislative process and prudent policy making.”

In the letter to the governor, Sen. O’Ban also questioned if the Department of Licensing has the legal authority to issue a policy in violation of current law that allows law enforcement to access social security numbers.

Click here to read Sen. O’Ban’s letter to Gov. Inslee.