Washington State May Soon Require Background Checks for All Gun Purchases

Proponents of Initiative 594 submitted a petition to the Secretary of State containing over 250,000 signatures supporting the measure. Initiative 594 will require background checks on all gun purchases, except certain familial transfers. This would include purchases at gun shows and even private sales. Supporters will continue to solicit signatures until the deadline of the beginning of 2014. Even though they collected 4,000 more signatures than what is required, 75,000 more are recommended because of the amount typically deemed invalid.

There are two different types of voter initiated proposals. One goes directly before the voters; and the second type is voted on by the State Legislators. This petition is going to be voted on by legislators unless they fail to do so; in which case the measure will go to voters’ and surely pass since 80% of Washington voter’s support I-594.

One proponent of the initiative, Christian Sinderman, is realistic about the measure’s tough chances with a legislative vote. Early in 2013, legislation that would expand background checks was struck down by the House, in spite of support by the State’s governor. Sinderman and other supporters hope the bill will be decided by referendum where they are very optimistic about its passing.

Attitudes toward gun control have changed dramatically since Initiative-676 was defeated in 1997. Over 70% of voter’s rejected the proposal to make the sale of trigger locks mandatory with every gun purchase. In the past 16 years, countless mass shootings have swayed many Americans’ opinion towards gun freedoms.