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House may vote on gun bills today

Gov. Jay Inslee talks with Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, during a visit to the House to lobby for votes on a bill to require universal background checks on gun purchases.

OLYMPIA — The House is expected to take up a package of bills supporters say are designed to curb gun violence today, if sponsors line up a few more yes votes for key legislation.

Gov. Jay Inslee made stops on both sides of the chamber in an effort to line up support for a bill that would extend background checks to private sales. Rep. Jamie Pederesen, D-Seattle, said that bill has at least 47 of the 50 votes needed for passage, and there are six or seven other legislators who are “maybes”.

Pedersen, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the House may start running the package of bills at mid afternoon, starting with legislation aimed at the mental health system. That will include a bill to make changes in requirements for involuntary treatment, and another to close what he described as a gap between the standards for a person who is incompetent to stand trial on criminal charges but not incompetent for civil cases.

Other bills in the package would be expanded authority to recover firearms and concealed weapons permits from someone under a protection order for stalking, and a registry of firarms offenders.

Among the last bills in the package Pedersen expects to be debated would be the so-called “universal background check” bill, which extends current requirements for the buyers of firearms to private sales from commercial sales.

In the area between the House floor and Democratic leadership's offices, Inslee called the ability for felons to buy guns in private sales “a loophole that common sense tells us needs to be closed.” He said he was talking to House members of both parties “asking them to step up to the plate.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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