A new gun control bill sponsored by Representative Jamie Pederson (D-43, Capitol Hill) would require background checks for all gun purchases unless the buyer has a concealed weapon permit. Currently, firearms purchased at gun shows do not require a background check; Pederson’s bill aims to close this loophole.
The bill passed in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week, 7-6, and moved on to the House Rules Committee giving hope to a long abandoned priority for liberal Democrats. Under Speaker Frank Chopp's (D-43, Wallingford) "One Washington" philosophy which defers to moderation—gun control has been DOA in Olympia for years. However, in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, Pedersen was able to get support for the bill.
But while liberals may be nervous about winning support in the senate where the Republican-dominated Majority Coaltion Caucus controls things, the situation is actually turned on its head.
The real problem for passing the background check bill lies in the House. While Pederson’s bill already has 38 sponsors, including two house Republicans, Mike Hope (R-44, Lake Stevens) and Maureen Walsh (R-16, Walla Walla), the bill still needs an additional 12 votes to pass. With a conservative bloc of Democrats including Reps. Larry Seaquist (D-26, Gig Harbor), Brian Blake (D-19, Aberdeen), Kathy Haigh (D-35, Shelton), Kevin Van De Wege (D-24, Sequim), and Dean Takko (D-19, Longview) that's not going to be easy—or even likely. We have a call in to Pedersen.
On the other hand, the Senate companion bill sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, S. Seattle) already has 23 sponsors Kline says (two from the MCC—Sens. Steve Litzow, R-41, and Rodney Tom, D-48). He only needs an additional two votes. Sources close to the bill assure us he's got them.
We spoke with conservative Democratic Representative Takko for his take on Pedersen's chances in the house.
PubliCola: Do you think the bill will pass through the house?
Rep. Dean Takko: I don’t think it will pass. The Republicans will block it, and there are quite of number of Democrats who will too. I’m voting against the bill because I don’t think it’s going to do much. Neither do the people in my district. I get forty or fifty emails to one urging me to vote down the bill.
I don’t think it’s the way to go on private gun sales. Criminals and bad guys don’t go to gun shows to buy guns. I read an article a couple months back that said the at most two percent bought guns from gun shows. I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction.
If a friend sold one of his buddies a gun in his own home for $500, he’s not going to run down to the sheriff’s office and get a background check on him. But if he doesn’t, then they’re both criminals? I think that’s ridiculous.