I finally got around to reading the whole apology letter. First two paragraphs:
You all have likely received e-mails and/or phone calls from constituents who are questioning why the Washington State Patrol is inquiring about recent gun sales, specifically involving AR-15 rifles.
The WSP has a rifle that is unaccounted for from our inventory and we cannot discount the possibility that it was stolen. Out of an abundance of caution, we opened a criminal investigation and entered the weapon into the statewide computer system as stolen. As we do in virtually every investigation, we sought information from people we considered knowledgeable, in this case, licensed gun dealers.
Really. Well, here's the letter:
So if they lost track of a rifle, and were just 'seeking information', why the HELL would they ask for all that information? As opposed to, say, "Have you seen this AR15, ser#X, in the past while?"
So, we have two choices: they lost a rifle and somebody panicked and asked for a bunch of information that A: they didn't need and B: was none of their damned business.
Or they went on a fishing expedition to start(or expand?) a database they've got no business having and got caught and this is their excuse. Either way, this looks like hell.