A gun control initiative is in the works for next year, according to a press release. Faith leaders, city officials, and public safety officers across the state say they support the initiative, which would require criminal background checks for firearm sales in Washington state.
The newly formed Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility drafted the initiative after it believed it was clear that the original background check bill would fail to get a vote in the legislature. (A major push by Seattle state Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) and powerful house speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43) failed to make it to the floor after they failed to convince conservative Democrats to back them on it.)
The formal initiative language will be finalized in the next couple weeks.
But with Gov. Inslee’s prioritization of gun control, and a session still to come, is it too early to draft a last ditch effort to pass background checks? Sinderman said: “We would love to see something get done. Given the barriers that arose earlier it’s certainly a difficult task, and there’s the very real threat of inaction. We want to be respectful to legislative process, and we appreciate the governor's advocacy, but we must continue planning.”
The initiative would be put toward the legislature next year, Sinderman explained, and if the legislature doesn’t adopt it, the initiative will be sent directly to the ballot for the 2014 election. Signatures for the initiative will be gathered throughout the summer before the January 2014 deadline. A formal campaign launch is scheduled for May 30.
In the press release King County executive Dow Constantine said, “One hundred thirty people die in King County every year from firearm use, more than auto accidents,” and urged action toward what he calls a “public health crisis.”
Snohomish County sheriff John Lovick, a former legislator and longtime supporter of closing background check loopholes, also gave his support to the initiative launch. “Closing loopholes in our existing laws is common sense and long overdue,” Lovick said.