Washington state gun database absent more than 500K records

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials say the records of more than 525,000 handgun purchases have not been entered into a Washington state database used by police and courts.

KING-TV reports the backlog in the database maintained by the state Department of Licensing means about three years of handgun purchase and transfer records are unavailable to authorities.

Licensing employees scan each document to create a digital image, and then they manually type most of the information into the database.

Department firearms program administrator Jennifer Richards says the agency has begun testing software that extracts the document text so it can be uploaded, speeding up the data entry process.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs says officers routinely access the database for investigations.